When my grandpa passed, there were many things to deal with, one of which was going through my grandparent’s house full of stuff. While I wasn’t as involved in this task as much as other family members were, the little that I did do proved to be an emotional process. Some of the items that I uncovered brought back sweet memories, some produced a few tears, and some were just plain interesting.
When I opened one of Grandma’s large kitchen drawers, I found it packed hundreds of newspaper clippings and small scraps of paper. Upon a closer look, I discovered most of them were recipes. I brought them home and have been sorting through them over the past week.
Among the piles of recipes for Buckeyes (why so many, I don’t know), was a cookie recipe written on the back of her mother’s application for a driver’s license, a newspaper article promoting cake as a good way to cut food expenses, and the grand national winning recipes for the 1952 Pillsbury Baking Contest. There were also lots and lots of recipes for doughnuts – something you don’t see much of anymore (the recipes that is, not the doughnuts) – and probably thirty recipes for frosting. She must have given up on finding a good frosting recipe because for as long as I can remember she bought Betty Crocker canned frosting.
My very mild mannered grandma also had a recipe for Ocean Spray Cranberry Apple Bread from Yankee Magazine, on which she had written, “Tried, even though they didn’t list flour. Had to eat with a spoon. I’m writing to Yankee Magazine about this!!! I couldn’t believe one could make bread without flour but thought perhaps it was something New Englanders liked.”
She must have written them, because underneath that recipe was a postcard written personally to Grandma from Yankee Magazine with their apologies for the omission of flour from the bread recipe. Under that was another recipe – the new and corrected one – with 1 1/2 cups flour. I laughed when I saw the notes written all over the new recipe. “Tried again the right way! Success!!” and then a long list of dates on which she made the recipe again and again. After each date she wrote a comment on how it turned out – all positive, of course.
My favorite finds were the very used and worn recipes handed down from her mother. These recipes must be at least 70 years old.
Going through the old, browned and brittle newspaper clippings, I found an article on how to make rugs from old blankets, an advertisement for an indoor clothes dryer that offered “sunshine indoors”, a full page about a 1947 “modern automatic gas refrigerator” that boasted “No Moving Parts!” and promised to bring you food storage convenience, and several ads for Fletcher Castoria – “the laxative made especially for infants and children”.
And I’ve never seen so many advertisements for baking soda. I wonder why.
Tucked under the recipe for Fried Dandelion Blossoms were several Christmas cookie recipes. I think I may try a couple over the weekend. If they turn out good, I’ll be sure to share them with you!