10/7/17

My Grandmother's Recipe Box... a new series on An American Housewife




I have a new and special-to-me series coming to An American Housewife that I'm really excited about because it's so personal to me.

In February, my Grandmother passed away.  If cooking and baking have any genetic based factors at all, then this is who I got my love of cooking from.  

My Grandpa died of cancer when he was quite young (58) and left her to raise their family solo.  By that time one of her sons had been killed in a car accident at age 19 and my mother as well as three of her siblings had already married and left home but Grandma was left to care for three young adults with Muscular Dystrophy.  Left with no means of income she bought a fledgling restaurant/pizzaria in a nearby town with a population about 700 people.  One of my Aunts care had gotten to the point where Grandma couldn't work full time and care for 3 adults with Muscular Dystrophy so my Aunt was now in a wheel chair went to a care facility and Grandma moved closer to my family so my parents could help.  She returned to the workforce as a dietician and worked as a dietician until she retired and then volunteered as a 'foster Grandma' for the local elementary schools. 

The best cream puffs I've ever had in my life were made by my Aunt (with Muscular Dystrophy) with my Grandmother's recipe.  I've never known anyone who can make them as perfectly, so light, so fluffy and so big as my Aunt D can.  Of course these days she lives in care facility full time as she's been wheel chair bound for years and hasn't much muscle tone left.  But that cream puff recipe is the same recipe I've used forever - since I was a newlywed.

As Grandma moved, she would slowly but surely downsize.  By the time she was moving to an apartment I was excited to receive boxes of cookbooks from her!  So many old 'church' cookbooks from around Minnesota and South Dakota.  Old "Your Neighbor Lady" booklets, Wilton baking and decorating books and more.  But what I loved most of all was just about 10 years ago when Grandma downsized and went to a very small one bedroom apartment, I was given her old gray, metal recipe box. 

In this box are handwritten recipe cards so old they are falling apart.  Mostly from the early 1940's when she was on the verge of marrying my Grandfather; they are so faded and ripped and obviously dearly loved and used often, they are hard to read. 

This week I was thumbing through some of them, trying to read what was on them and lamenting the fact that some of information is now gone forever and the cards will continue to disintegrate, I realized I needed to either scan them or take a photo of them and start to 'save' them on my website!  That's exactly what I started my website for over a decade ago was to save and collect recipes for my personal use.  The website may have grown to have approximately 1.4 million views, with recipes, product reviews and more but it's primarily used as my own personal 'collection' so I can find them quickly and easily.  And my grandmother's recipes deserve to be saved... and cherished. 

As I photograph and copy my Grandmother's collected recipes, I hope perhaps my readers may see an old recipe that their great-grandmother or grandmother made.  Many of these come from very good friends of my Grandma; women she considered very close friends and neighbors.  Often they were raising children together and would meet for morning coffee - always enjoying "something sweet" with their coffee and trading recipes back and forth.  I love these to pieces... almost literally in some cases!  And hope you will too.









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