Once Lost; Now Found–The Recipe Saga
Sometimes the most delightful little gifts fall into our laps.
Such a happenstance occurred for me last weekend.
My oldest son was visiting over the holiday and we planned to visit my only surviving aunt. She and her husband were my son’s godparents so he also feels a special connection to her. She’s also the one whose husband of 60+ years died this past summer. We both figured this first important and very much family-oriented holiday would have been difficult for her.
So on Saturday afternoon we went to see her.
The visit was great. As we often do we reminisced about those no longer with us. And we talked about Christmas which will be coming soon. My grandfather died two days before Christmas. I was pregnant with my oldest son and Grandpa was very much looking forward to being a great-grandfather. In all the ensuing years since Grandpa died, Christmas got easier for those of us who loved him but always we missed him. Knowing how much he loved the Christmas holiday and what its meaning was also helped keep up his traditions. We talked about that for a bit with my aunt.
But for my son and me, we also find Christmas difficult because many years later, my second son died three days before Christmas. None of my sons ever got to know my grandfather, but they knew the story of his death shoveling snow in a major snowstorm so he could get to his last day of work before he retired.
But another part of Christmas back then while my grandmother was still alive was her holiday salad. She always made it for Christmas. My oldest son remembers eating it. I not only remember eating it, but have vivid memories of Christmas preparations shared with my grandma and grandpa while making that salad.
Grandpa chopped the nuts.
I got to cut up marshmallows into tiny pieces. I lost this task when mini-marshmallows became available. However, when those minis became available in various colors, Gram would have me pick out the colors she didn’t choose to include in her salad. Those I could eat if I wanted.
Of course, I wanted. They were a treat.
Anyway, come Christmas Day when the family gathered, Grandma would have her salad on the table always in the same bowl, one which was an ivory stoneware with brown and rust leaves. She’d gotten it at the Jewel T grocery store. That bowl always sat on the table during family feasts.
So on that visit last Saturday, I mentioned my memories of the salad and the bowl. I said how I’d never seen a recipe for that salad and had never eaten it since my grandmother died (again in another December before Christmas.) I said something like I guessed that recipe died with Gram.
My aunt said no. Her daughter had that recipe and had written it down for her at Thanksgiving.
Serendipity. My little unexpected Christmas gift from above.
I now have the recipe.
I’m making it for Christmas to honor my grandparents.
To see if the salad is as great as I remember.
Now wouldn’t it be wonderful if that long lost bowl suddenly appeared?
So what special food have you been thinking of? Perhaps one that’s tied into family celebrations of the past? Any that you care to share?
Oh, and here’s the recipe. The only thing that would have made this perfect is if it were written in my grandmother’s hand.
Grandma D’s Holiday Salad
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 Cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 Cup flour
1/2 Cup lemon juice
Mix and cook above over medium heat until thickened.
Add 1/2 pint of cream slowly mixed into above mixture.
3 cans Royal Ann Cherries, pitted.
2 cans large pineapple chunks, drained.
Nuts – type and amount as desired.
Miniature marshmallows – amount as desired.
Keep chilled until served.