19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Monday, December 7, 1914: <<no entry>>
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
I’ve gotten to know Grandma as a teen very well over the past few years—and I remember what she was like as an older woman when she was my grandmother. But as the diary winds down, I realized that I didn’t know much about what Grandma was like during her middle years—the years when she was raising her family.
So I went to the experts—her children. Today, I’d like to share Aunt Eleanor’s food memories:
As I get older I appreciate more and more that Mom put food on the table three times a day, day after day after day, year in, year out. There wasn’t much elegance about it, but by and large it was good food.
Probably because I married into a family which emphasized presentation and because in truth I was a guest at their company meals, I began to think my mother wasn’t a very good cook. The things I was zeroing in on were the occasional overcooking of meats and a relaxed attitude about cookie ingredients and baking times.
BUT the gravy was wonderful and in her words the cookies “always went.” In speaking of her until recently, I would say, “My mother’s cooking wasn’t great, but she did make a wonderful _______, and that blank could be her vegetable soup (I ate until I was tight as a tick), her angel food cake (before the advent of electric mixers!), her pies (my husband raves about the raspberry custard ones), her cinnamon rolls, etc., etc.
Until she gave in and bought store stuff, she baked loaf after loaf of very good bread, home-canned, and made noodles and deep-fried doughnuts. I’m fairly sure she even made deep-fried potato chips a few times.
And, like Aunt Eleanor, as I get older, I realize that I also appreciate the simple foods that I grew up eating more and more. My friends eat sushi and fusion foods—while I enjoy trying to replicate the old recipes of my ancestors.
Grandma’s Bake-a-thon continues. See previous post for information about how to participate.