I Remember Mama —and Grandmama

Mother’s Day is kind of a strange observance for me. Since I’m not a mother myself and DotMom has been gone now for seven years, I only need make sure we have a card for marvelous mom-in-law Ella.

But DotMom is never far from my thoughts, and it seems like reminders of her have cropped up a lot recently.

Because my own was being fixed, I wore her wedding ring for a few days this last week. Every time I looked down at my finger, I could remember how it looked on hers.

Sister Margaret sent me a recycled thank you card that still contained a post-it note written by Mom. Her handwriting wasn’t always legible, but it was distinctly hers.

And then there was the Facebook post by niece Gretchen, now a mom herself and living in Baxter, accompanied by the picture above:

My mom brought up a box of my Grandma Dorthy’s goodies that were collected for me after she passed away. …  Not sure what the sunglasses are all aboum, but the apron features recipes from my Great-Grandma. Grandma Dot would be appalled if she knew how bad of a cook I am.

The sunglasses Gretchen wears in the photo were among some metro models that Mom always kept in a chest in the hallway. And the apron? Well, I’m proud to say that was my creation, made by scanning recipes written by my grandmothers and ironing them onto the fabric. Sister Margaret also received a set of placemats made this way.

My Grandma Margaret —Mom’s mom —died when I was but 2 years old, so I have no memories of her. But Grandma Alice was a fixture in my life into adulthood. She would have been 115 years old this year. Grandma was a woman before her time —an astute businesswoman who worked alongside her husband —and later her sons —in the family business.

But Grandma was also a good cook, and particularly a good baker. Ask any of her grandchildren about their favorite memories of her, and they would likely mention cookies. No matter how busy she was, there was always a big tin of cookies and probably some other baked goods just waiting for whoever happened to stop by.

So the apron that is now in Gretchen’s possession is kind of a culinary history of our family. It features recipes written out by her  great-grandmother on a garment worn by her grandmother. Since I’m not sure at the moment where I put the original recipes (I’m sure I put them somewhere for safe keeping, but where?), I hope she takes good care of that apron.

I do have a few other recipes in Grandma Alice’s handwriting —placed between the pages of her copy of DotMom’s “Mixing and Musing Cookbook.” It’s the copy that I keep stashed in my desk drawer for quick reference, and each time I open it, one of the recipes flutters out or I catch a note written in the margins of the cookbook.

Here’s the recipe that fluttered out when I opened it today. I’m not really sure if you’re supposed to include the candy bars, fruits and nuts all at once or if those were just options for topping this dessert. This is the way she has it written out.

Angel Food Dessert

1 large angel food cake, cut up in pieces

1 package instant vanilla pudding

1 carton Cool Whip

Cut cake into pieces. Put into a 9- by 13-inch pan, save some for another layer.

Mix vanilla pudding as directed, then mix Cool Whip with pudding and put over angel food pieces. Add another layer.

Cover with 2 Butterfinger candy bars, crushed; nuts, pineapple or coconut.

My favorite in Grandma Alice’s cookie repertoire was her gingersnaps, a that I have shared before. A bit more unique was this take on a raisin cookie. Both recipes rate a spot of honor in the “Mixing & Musing” book.

Pineapple-Raisin Drops

1 cup brown sugar, packed

½ cup shortening

1 egg

½ teaspoon vanilla

 2 cups sifted flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 small can crushed pineapple, drained

½ cup seedless raisins

Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Drop by teaspoonsful onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minu

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