Posted tagged ‘recipes’

Once Lost; Now Found–The Recipe Saga

December 1, 2012

After a frost. these flowers refuse to die.

After a frost. these flowers refuse to die.

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.

Tanker close to shore day after Thanksgiving

Tanker close to shore day after Thanksgiving

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.

After our visit Oreo and Steve

After our visit Oreo and Steve

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.

Taken from Google images

Taken from Google images

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.

Then add:

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.

I’m Back…

July 1, 2012

Yes, I am and happy to be sharing Sundays with you again.

John is on the right. He was probably about 8 in this photo. The other two boys are his brothers.

I’m somewhat rested but definitely much more focused. I decided to conclude my break and post today because today would have been my son John’s 50th birthday. That day was a very hot Sunday just like today. If you knew John, send a birthday wish heavenward. If you want to know more about him, read a post from a few years ago.

I know if John were still alive, I’d have many more of these to-do items off my list.

When I took my break, I felt frustrated with the landscaping project. Well, I think that project will never end as it’s still in what I refer to as a seriously major mess.

In the shade mid morning. Ugh

We’re enduring a heat wave, something that doesn’t happen for extended periods of time in Wisconsin. The heat is coupled with no rain, and we’ve officially been designated a drought area. So the photos I’m posting today are from plantings I’ve photographed in yards other than mine. Why? We’ve not turned on our outside water due to the landscaping, and I’ve chosen not to plant anything this summer because of that project.

This week I had the opportunity to see some beautiful photos the results of a couple trips a friend and her husband took. He is an incredibly photographer. Of course, he has all the right equipment to capture in photos nature and landscapes that take your breath away with their beauty and their detail.

Lovely purple clematis in a friend’s garden.

Anyway, I also enjoy taking photos especially of scenery and animals or birds in natural settings. My photos will never be the same as his even if I had his equipment because his vision, his unique way of composing or envisioning his shot differs from mine.

I thought about this in relation to other artistic skills or talents. Take writing for instance. Two writers might hit on the same setting and even similar elements in their plot, but both those stories end up very differently. I thought about this concept while reading a book recently. The book had a subplot similar to one of mine in Seasons of Wine and Love. Same circumstances for the subplot, same state, similar characteristics in the heroine, but very different in the manner the story unfolded and the heroine’s journey.

As I’ve become more immersed in the skills of writing and preparing for publication the best story I can, I realize that this has impacted how I read or watch a TV show or a movie. Not that I look for what isn’t right, but to see different approaches to plot elements and how that’s done, why it worked or didn’t for me. In some ways that detracts from what used to be my simple enjoyment of such items.

Window box–thanks to another friend

My husband does this with his cooking and his analysis of possible recipes to try. He makes the recipe, then tears it apart to decide how he might make it better. Or maybe never remake it as it didn’t turn out as he expected. He carries this trait into dining out. Always he’s trying to determine what spices or herbs make the dish or not. What he might do to make it better.

Finally, I think this idea has some merit in our personal lives. As we get older and experience life more in all its manifestations, we take that wisdom and apply it to our lives and what we experience each day. Hopefully, that allows us to make our lives better or easier. Not make those stupid decisions we’ve all made in our earlier years. If you’re one of the few who never made a stupid decision, you’re very lucky and very wise.

For most of us the path of wisdom is living through our lives with all its bad decisions as well as good ones, but learning from both.

Lilies from hubby

I guess that’s why I call what I write Wise Women Fiction. My heroines are on that journey.

So I’m glad to be back. I hope you have a wonderful and safe July 4th holiday if you are a reader who celebrates the day the US celebrates our independence from Britain.

See you next Sunday.