So, one thing I think is really cool, but don't have the opportunity to capitalize on often, is the idea of family recipes. Old family recipes. Like passed down over generations recipes. I'm in the process of slowly learning my grandmother's recipes -- I've co-taken over strawberry shortcake -- but there's so much more to learn.
One really cool thing I do have to work with, though, is a cookbook my uncle made for our family comprised of scans of my great-grandmother's hand written recipes.
There's my great-grandmother surrounded by some of her children and grandchildren -- from what I can tell, in her element. I met her once, but I was a baby, so I don't remember it. But I feel like using her recipes somehow tells me more about her.
I've tried two recipes. One of the things I have learned about her is that she pretty much knew what she was doing in the kitchen. And she didn't write down all the steps. Because she knew better. I however, did not. I tried to make her Indian Pudding recipe . . . but I had never made a pudding, and didn't know I couldn't just add the eggs while it was on the stove. Long story short: the eggs cooked and ended up being solid lumps in the liquid pudding. I've learned my lesson. So I guess I can credit her for teaching me how to add eggs to pudding . . . in a kind of indirect way.
I've also made her brown bread. It is good stuff. I had brown bread at a diner a couple of weeks ago, which reminded me of this recipe, and added this to my queue of recipes to make.
Last time we didn't have a can to cook it in, so this time, mom and I purposely got a large can of soup for lunch to produce a can. I guess buying a large can of beans to go with the bread would have worked too. However, it still didn't cook right. The can overflowed and the bottom never really cooked completely. Apparently, according to my grandmother, the can my great-grandmother used to use was a coffee can. With a metal top. And holes in the top. And probably lead in it. But that's probably baked out over the last 100 or so years. Anyway, maybe I should have covered my feeble soup can. Although, I think it still would have overflowed.
Now, how do I get it out?
from Hazel Rutan
1 cup white or graham flour
1/2 cup corn meal
1 tsp (baking) soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup sweet milk
Mix the dry ingredients.
Add the molasses and milk and combine.
Bake in a can about 3/4 hour in a 350 degree oven.
I'm sure hers would have looked a lot better, but it still tasted okay. With butter (another trademark of my great-grandmother's cooking) and baked beans (courtesy of mom), my grandmother said it reminded her of many dinners of her childhood. I guess that was the point.