Monday, January 2, 2012

Granny's Legacy

My Granny is one of my heroes.  When I was little, I was lucky enough to go and spend a week with them every summer.  We always made crafts, sewed, cooked, went to the library, worked in the garden and went fishing.  She was a city girl who's father worked for the Edison Company in Southern California in the 30's.  She met my Grandpa, from a sheep ranching family in Utah when he was a door to door salesman selling portraits during the Depression.  She adapted to the farming life, and they even owned a chicken ranch.  She was very industrious.  I remember one year when staying with her in the summer she bought me a cute top.  She liked the style so much she traced it out and created a pattern to be able to make more!  I remember once she made an apron out of trash bags so that layers of the bottom could tear off when they got dirty.  I wish I could remember exactly how, time has clouded that memory a bit.

So many times while I'm in my kitchen, or out with my animals or crafting I feel her with me.  And she is.  All of the things that she has taught me, that she taught my Father and he passed down to me, are with me each and every day.

For Christmas I got a copy of this amazing cookbook that she had put together for her kids.  I loved her letter in the beginning.  And I wanted to share it as I kick off the blog this year.


Dear Children,

I have been teaching a mini-class in our Relief Society and I really enjoy it. It is one thing that I like to do.  However I am always changing recipes to suit my family, or what I have on hand. Sometimes I get carried away telling them how to change things and get them a little confused.  Like the time I made peach-apricot-pineapple jam last year and didn’t have enough, so I finely grated 2 cups of carrots and added them, and it is good jam!

My first exciting experience that way was in Bloomington. I had promised some child a pink birthday cake and pink frosting.  Tragedy! No red food coloring.  I was quite a ways from the store, no car, and I had to figure out what to do.  I looked around and all that I had that could be pink, was beets.  Viola! I cooked a few beets in a little water, cooled it, and added it to the cake and then the frosting.  It worked just fine. Nobody even knew it until I told them later.  Then they laughed and laughed, but it worked.

I’ve been “fixing up” recipes ever since, sometimes with success, sometimes not.  But to me cooking is a creative activity and I have enjoyed experimenting. Luckily, with five children, someone was always hungry enough to eat whatever I cooked, successfully or not!

My next big exciting event happened in Highland. I had bought a large bag full of bananas because they were really ripe, and cheap. But so everyone wouldn’t eat them all at once, I hid most of them in the bottom of the trash sack. I was going to make some banana pie. That was Floyd’s (my grandpa) favorite pie.

I told some child to take it out and dump it on the smoldering  trash fire, out by the egg room.  Just as they dumped it I remembered my bananas and ran out yelling, wait! Wait!    When I told them what had happened, everyone grabbed sticks and the rake and got most of the bananas out and ate the ones that were edible.  I didn’t save any money on that deal and Floyd didn’t get any pie!

The leaders of our church have told us to use what we have, use it up, and not to be wasteful. I have tried to do this, especially in the kitchen. In Yucaipa, I had a large peanut butter jar in the freezer and I would put in the left over vegetables, roast bones, gravy, rice, etc  and when it was full I made soup.

I purchased a large T bone roast, browned it and cooked it.  Then cut off the bone, added more water, my thawed out jar of whatever, some extra seasonings and there was supper.  I usually heard, ‘What ?  Mom’s soup again?” But everyone ate it.

Last year I was teaching a class on Favorite Old Recipes and found out that a lot of women had never cut up a chicken, make soup or cake from scratch or used leftovers, so we had some lessons on those subjects.

I had some recipes that I had written down that my mother had told me and some that I remembered from when I was young.  I also had a few old cookbooks that we had used at home, and some I’ve had since we were married. Floyd used to give me a new appliance every year for my birthday or Christmas and they all had booklets with good recipes in them and I used them a lot.

After doing those lessons, I thought my children might like to have them. I started to write down a few more and each recipe had a memory about my family.  Finally had to stop, my “booklet” was getting too heavy, and wouldn’t fit in the cover. I made the cover to suit each girl, I hoped, and I hope you enjoy looking at them. Xeroxed some recipes out of my books, most of my memories of food are happy ones – maybe that’s why I’m not skinny. From having Dad make ice-cream (with our help), to eating chicken legs in bed at night, under the covers, while reading with the flashlight, and being just a little “ant-y” in the morning, to learning to cook without salt , it’s all been fun. Now I try to use up all the vegetables and fruits we raise and use them in different ways.

I hope you all enjoy this booklet, and learn to have fun in your kitchen – or teach your children to! And I hope you pass on a few of your favorite recipes to your children.

I thought it would be nice to include something from the “other side” of your families and the recipes in the back are from them.  I have included some of Floyd’s mother’s recipes.  She was a wonderful cook and I learned a lot from her.  She had real butter cream, fresh eggs and vegetables and fruit she put up herself. She made her own bread and was a good seamstress. She was president of the Relief Society when we first went back to Utah and I thought then that it was great.

It took me quite a while, before I joined the church and became a real member of Relief Society, and there were many times during the years that I have been unable to go. I had children of Primary age and I always seemed to be teaching them. I know, though, that the Relief Society is an inspired program, and I have learned so many things there that have benefited myself and my family, and the sisters have always been ready to help me in any way possible. Primary and Relief Society were an educational and also a social experience for me for many years, Relief Society still is. And I am still learning new skills and absorbing new ideas.

I am thankful that I have a husband who was willing, and able, to work hard and long to raise food and earn money so our children could have the food and necessities that they needed to grow up healthy and able to take care of themselves and their families.

Now I really enjoy watching the grandchildren eat what I cook and bake and Floyd enjoys so much sharing what he has grown with children and grandchildren.

 Love, Mom

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