What was Grandma’s and Mom’s Secret?

Isn't that scrumptious looking?


I’m sure some of you may not like them at all. Maybe some of you are courageous enough to never partake of them even though it might take you enormous amounts of internal fortitude to beat off temptation.

I’ll admit it. I love desserts. At least most of them. I suspect this fondness is part of my DNA. My mother and her mother always loved desserts. If dessert was an available option, they never turned one down. However, they had an incredible ability to take the smallest portions possible. (The closest I’ve come to this element is being able to quickly turn down some dessert I don’t like, doesn’t agree with my digestive system, or just doesn’t appeal to me. Guess I’m much fussier than they were.) πŸ™‚

My maternal grandmother would practice her dessert moderation by always saying sweetly, “Make it a very small piece.”

So I’d cut the smallest piece possible of whatever I was serving. Then I’d watch her eyes widen.

“Oh, can’t you make that smaller?”

I or whoever was serving at the time would try. Gram would nod, smile graciously, and then the dessert would be handed to her. Gram would take the first small bite. She’d close her eyes, savor it, smile again, and then tell whoever made the dessert and served it how marvelous it was.

But Gram never finished a dessert.

Just one little square at a time...

Now my mother was different. My mother loved her chocolate and if chocolate was part of the dessert, she wanted a moderate–not infinitisimal–portion. A day rarely passed that she didn’t have some Β chocolateΒ morsel. It didn’t have to be expensive chocolate but it had to be chocolate–milk, semi-sweet, dark, white. I could be combined with other favorite item, like peanuts, caramel, buttercream, fruit. You get the idea. Actually, her favorite candy were called turtles.

Each afternoon after school, she’d enjoy any dessert or a fresh-baked cookie with her afternoon coffee. I think it gave her the energy to chase after 6 children, 18 grandchildren, and 34 years of third graders. She needed those desserts to get through her days.

Right now, I’m working on revising the second in my Dessert Dames books. These books center on women’s friendships and how they support each other in the difficult and joyous times of their lives. They get their Dessert Dames name because one of their traditions is, have you figured it out?

Right. Desserts. πŸ™‚

Lots of them: to celebrate, to grieve, to solve problems, to exist.

But as I worked on a new scene Thursday and I was putting my heroine Cassie through a very stressful day, one of her friends arrived in that scene and said something like, “I brought desserts. I know today’s been tough.”

My mind halted–desserts–turn it around after a tough day, what are you feeling?


Turn that around? DESSERTS.

Cookies? Great anytime...Just ask Mom.

Head slap here.

Both my mom and grandmother had major stress in their lives. They didn’t drink, overeat, or get ill. They really didn’t whine or moan about life, take pills, or act out.

They dealt with life and with stress. With dessert.

They were strong women. I’ve been told that I am also. If that’s true, it’s because I had such incredible role models.

I’m sure dessert helped them deal with lives. That, their faith, and saying more than a few rosaries.

But that’s for another post and another day.

They each had their favorites. Mom’s was chocolate, especially hot fudge sundaes. Gram loved pies, just about any kind. (But she hated ice cream and that’s yet another story.)

So in honor of my gram, my mom, and my fictional friends, this week’s question is: what is your favorite dessert?

My favorite. Maybe I'm like Gram.

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20 Comments on “What was Grandma’s and Mom’s Secret?”

  1. What a really sweet (grin!) post, Casey. I loved the tales of your mom and grandma. And the stressed spelled backward! Talk about a BIG head slap. That’s phenomenal.
    My mother loved chocolate (she’d hide it from herself to keep from eating it all in one day????) and her ice cream – melted. She’d put it in the microwave first. So cute.
    It’s great to have those memories, isn’t it? And the top picture with the vanilla ice cream and raspberries (?) is beautiful.
    This was a nice way to start my Sunday. Thank you.

  2. Patti,

    I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one who did the head slap! πŸ˜‰ And your story about Mom melting her ice cream before she’d eat it? Priceless. Someday I’ll have to do a post which centers of strange behaviors in eating desserts. Or use them carefully in my fiction series.

    Enjoy your day!

  3. Edie Ramer Says:

    My mom loved just about any kind of sweets, and I take after her that way, too. I’m cutting down on sugar but I’m not cutting desserts completely out of my life. I did have a square of Lindt’s 70% dark chocolate about an hour ago, and because I’m eating less now, I enjoyed it more. It was bliss.

  4. Edie,

    I love Lindt’s and consider it a reward treat. And not one of those everyday rewards just for getting through another day. πŸ™‚

    See your philosophy of eating less and enjoying it more is likely exactly what my gram thought. While she was many things, she wasn’t really a writer so you put her thoughts into words.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Cyndie Kimball Says:

    Ah, desserts! Anything chocolate! Since I was blessed (cursed) with the Dieter height my love of chocolate has impaired any chances of my being slender (like my taller sisters). So it helps immensely to know that I come by my love of desserts honestly – from both sides of the family.

    My mother was an excellent cook and baker – though little of that was passed down to me or my sisters. But Daddy tells a story: Mom and Dad were newlyweds. They finished dinner and Mom said she had to finish making their dessert. Dad watched in fascination as she whipped up egg whites into meringue – then scooped out ice cream and put it on top of cake topping that with meringue. His fascination turned to concern when she then proceeded to put it in the oven. He thought she had lost it – putting ice cream in the oven – but was impressed when he was eating his first ever baked Alaska! Though impressed, he never stopped teasing her about putting ice cream in the oven!

  6. Cyndie,

    I love that story and never heard it before. I have fond memories of the boxes of Christmas cookies which would always come from your mom. My mom rationed them out but oh, they were wondrous!

    And of course, Steve’s most favorite cake is a recipe I got from your mom. He loved that as a little boy when he had it the very first time and always insisted I’d make it for his birthday. No store bought fancy cakes for him–just Aunt Jeanette’s chocolate chip-date-nut cake.

    I hear you about being vertically challenged. And the havoc that plays if one loves desserts.

    Thanks for stopping by. πŸ™‚

  7. There’s absolutely no way for me to pick a favorite dessert. It’s impossible. What I can tell you is I don’t like nuts in my sweets, or raisens or chewy fruit. And NO coconut. Dark chocolate is also not a favorite–not sweet enough.

    Other than that, I’m open to just about anything. I give up sweets, and adding salt to my food, every year for lent because are the two hardest things for me to do.

    So, other than lent, I usually have something sweet every day, but I’m very careful to eat it in moderation. Not always the easiest, but very necessary. πŸ™‚

  8. Stacey,

    Boy, I understand about Lent! Diet Coke and any dessert/sweet is gone and believe me, that’s soooo difficult. I’ve also given u any snacks so it’s a very good thing I’m not diabetic.

    I dislike coconut also and avoid anything with it. I enjoy some chocolate but not lots and avoid dark chocolate which is the healthiest. Maybe that’s why I like it least of all?

    Thanks for letting me know a bit more about you. πŸ™‚

  9. Oooo, what a sweet subject for a sundae πŸ™‚ Lots of stuff, homemade apple pies, any homemade pie; Italian pastries, chocolate truffles (Belgian if possible)or a pound of the most expensive Belgian chocolate I can find in a specialty shoppe … cookies, ice cream, cream pies, rice pudding … Do you have more time?

    Alas, I cannot indulge my true passion for the sweets to the sweet, so I have fat free, sugar free yogurt with fruit mixed in; frozen yogurt or ONE cookie. I am healthier and live with fond memories of mom, aunts and cousins, me and more cousins, baking for each Holiday. If possible I would gladly devour a tub of butter cream … red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting anyone?

    Nope, no can do. I think I’ll go have a cup of cottage cheese now and sulk );

  10. Florence,

    I’m your twin in the desserts department. But like you I now mostly stick to fruit or maybe as a treat fruit with yogurt. Not because I have a health issue so much as the fact I inherited my gram’s and mom’s stature and really can’t afford to put on more weight than I already carry. Ah, the slings and arrows of fate…

    Thanks for stopping by…

  11. Kathy Says:

    I loved this! My all-time favorite was my Grandmother’s (Mom’s Mom) chocolate sponge. Never to be duplicated, alas.
    My other Grandmother (Dad’s) loved dessert so much, she’d order it first at a restaurant. She wanted to be sure she had room for it, and would take part of her meal home instead!

  12. Kathy,

    It’s so sad when a recipe dies because no one learned how to do it from the master. On the other hand, consider the calories we don’t have to work off. πŸ™‚

    I’m loving these tidbits about grandmothers that are being shared. A treasure I wasn’t anticipating with this post.

    Thanks for stopping in.

  13. Donna Marie Rogers Says:

    I’m late to the party, but I couldn’t resist this particular subject!

    Man, do I love sweets, and my fave dessert changes with my mood. Sometimes it’s lemon meringue pie, sometimes it’s chocolate cheesecake. I love peach pie, and I’d never turn down cake (or a cupcake), especially if it has lots of frosting! And chocolate eclair torte. And chocolate candy….LOL I have some Fannie May cream eggs on the way right now. *grin*

    I’m not big on raisins or chewy fruits either, or coconut (it’s so choky). But I do love chocolate, even dark, and most nuts (hate pistachios). Oh, and I love Stacey’s brownies, which have butterscotch and chocolate chips, and yummy frosting. πŸ™‚

    Hugs & Miss you!

  14. Donna,

    Love your list and dislike the same things you do. Oh, and I want some of Stacey’s brownies. Lucky you, living so close to her, maybe you actually get them once in a while.

    I’m planning on coming up to the April meeting. Sure hope you’ll be there. I need hugs! πŸ™‚

  15. Even if there wasn’t a great program scheduled, your hugs and seeing everyone is always would be worth the trip in for the meeting. πŸ™‚ But with the great program scheduled, seeing you is a perfect bonus!

  16. Stacey,

    Wonderful. So glad you’re planning on attending also. You and Donna are so sweet. πŸ™‚

  17. carol gianforte Says:

    very heartwarming. Loved the small serving memory! AND very strengthening!

  18. Carol,

    Small servings/moderation. Actually a very good tactic to deal with several issues in life. πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for stopping by.

  19. anneparent Says:

    This is a weakness for me. Peach cobbler reminds me of my mother because her’s were the best there is. An orange jello cake reminds me of my grandmother because she always had one in her house. For me, it would have to be cheesecake. I just love the texture of it.
    Thanks for taking me down memory lane!

  20. Hi Anne,

    Seems like this post took several people down memory lane and that tickles me. πŸ™‚

    I love cheesecake also, plain or with fresh fruit on top. The peach cobbler sounds yummy though I don’t think I’ve ever had a peach cobbler but I love apple and cherry which I’ve had and the orange jello cake? Now that sounds very interesting.

    Thanks for stopping by.

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