From Grandma. Real Good.

1 03 2009

I still have my Grandma Thelma’s old cookbook.  


It continues to be the one I go to if I want to roast a turkey or make an apple pie.  The good old recipes never change.  Some do, however….and thank God for that.  To illustrate my point, let’s flip to the “Jiffy Cooking” section, shall we?


Eggs in Hash Nests?  The Whole Meal Sandwich?  Sounds delightful!  What else?  What else?!!



Hmmm….a Big 20 Minute Supper sounds nice.  Pear Cheese?  Well, as they say, there’s many a trick between the can opener and dinner…. 

If you can’t see the small print in the green it says “Upper Left: Jiffy Mexican Dinner.  Upper Right:  Ham Platter.  Center:  Crown Roast Dinner.”  And this, dear friends is what it is referring to….


Be happy that the scan didn’t come out too great.  Basically the “Crown Roast” is spam cut into fingers, surrounding peeled new potatoes rolled in parsley.  Yuuuuummmmm.  Oh, not to mention the pineapple slices, strawberries, asparagus – and God knows what the hell is on the asparagus. 

I think, even in the housewife perfection of the 1950’s, that it would have been perfectly fine to say, “Oh sorry honey!  I lost track of time.  I almost made a ‘Crown Roast”, but decided on Pancakes instead!  How was your day?”

But I digress.  I love my Grandma’s cookbook.  I love it for the real recipes that always come out right, I love it for the horrid “Jiffy Cooking” section…but I love it most of all for the things that are stuffed into the pages of the cookbook.  There are numerous newspaper clippings of recipes, handwritten ones and even a few that are typed on her old manual typewriter….

This one is for Povitica…a wonderful sweet bread that she always made around Christmas time.  I made this once when the kids were little and it was a huge mess and didn’t look anything like Grandma’s wreath of perfection.   She was never a recipe thief and I find the originators of these recipes always cited.  With her blue ink pen she  thanks Molly Kambich for the recipe.


And this is a great one.  I loved pasties.  (You pronounce pasty with a short a sound like apple, not a long a sound like ape.)  Pasties were big in our area where we had huge numbers of Irish immigrants.  Apparently in 1983 these were “real good”, made 18 pasties but the pasty dough was only “OK”.   She cites a better dough, Carol Lee’s recipe, on the right. 


But even better, on the back of this clipping is the article “Blind Parents Rearing Five Normal Children!”  (exclamation point is my own)  Good God!  Her husband is also blind!!  Oh the humanity!  Please note that in the 11 years of their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Andrews never had to recieve financial assistance.  Wow.  We’ve come a long way baby.


All kidding aside, I love looking through this stuff.  It continues to yellow with age, so I have decided to try getting it scanned for posterity.  I don’t know if it will mean anything to anyone else, but seeing my Grandma’s handwriting and the way she always meticulously dates and cites things makes me nostalgic.  Her kitchen was always a wonderful place where I learned not only how to cook, but how to listen, how to tell stories, and how to value the little things. 

Real Good.





7 responses

2 03 2009

Oh that is fantastic! I’m really glad you scanned (and shared) this stuff…

In a similar vein my parents have a bunch of prints framed in their kitchen that promote wartime propaganda (“Waste food and help the Hun!”, next to a little picture of Hitler being aided by a knife and fork, “Beat the Kaiser with Little Liver Pills”, etc.)

2 03 2009

Grandma Thelma’s cookbook is awesome! It would be so fun to look through — good for you for scanning it to preserve it. I have a newer Better Homes and Gardens book, but it doesn’t include the Crown Roast Dinner. Strange, no?

2 03 2009

That’s it. I’m making the “Crown Roast” tonight! But (get this!) I’ll put maraschino cherries on the pineapple!

2 03 2009

Oh God. Not maraschino cherries! You are definitely evil.

2 03 2009
Bobo the Wandering Pallbearer

Aha! Rack of Spam! I think my Mom has a copy of that cookbook squirrelled away somewhere.

2 03 2009

Remind me to tell you a story about Bruce Gordan and the Marachino cherries. It’s a little too vivid for this clean living blog.
Does that book have grandma’s recipe for rollS and crunch-crunch? I would kill for that. I have managed to recreate her Christmas cookies. Get this- it’s shortbread with extra butter!

2 03 2009

Dried Beef Casserole! Tomato Cabbage Salad!

This has brought me so much joy. Thank you for sharing!

(My mum liked to write things like “add scant shortening…until it looks right.” LOOKS RIGHT?! To WHOM?!)

Please keep scanning and sharing. This made me laugh until I nearly cried.

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