JUST THINKING: Proverbial gold: Grandma’s recipes

Just Thinking | Julie Stafford

I know some folks value the big ticket items left to them from past generations — things like valuable jewelry, fancy china and even larger inheritances such as cars and houses.

But for me, the most treasured things I’ve been given — especially from my grandmas — are those with a memory attached. Things like black and white family photos and costume jewelry and unique vases.

This week, I had a chance to thumb through both of my grandmothers’ recipe boxes, which, to me, are proverbial gold.

I was really young when my dad’s mom, Vivian, passed away and don’t remember a whole lot about her. But I’ve heard stories about how my grandpa would call at the last minute and tell her he was bringing home four or five guys for dinner, which meant she had to pull something together in short order. And while she didn’t fancy herself a cook, she had a gift for quickly concocting fairly fancy menus.

My mom’s mom, Hazel, was a huge part of my growing up years. I spent at least one or two nights a week at her house and we rotated Sunday dinners between her house and ours. If I close my eyes, I still can smell bread baking in her oven, pot roast that had been cooking for hours, and her world famous – at least to our family – pie. She was a really good cook who made most things from scratch and had a storage room full of her canned goods – jams, peaches, tomatoes, pickles.

My grandma Viv’s box is a small, worn wooden box, neat and tidy, most recipes typed. Grandma Hazel’s is a big, green plastic, tackle looking box with two rows of handwritten cards, recipes clipped from newspapers tucked higgledy piggledy in each category. You can tell the ones she used a lot because they have notes on them, and some are covered in plastic. Many of the recipes are attributed to friends she admired.

In tomorrow’s Daily News, you’ll find my great-grandmother’s Sour Cream Pie recipe, which was a centerpiece for dessert each and every Thanksgiving. Doesn’t necessarily sound tasty, but trust me, it was.

Since moving back to Greenville, I’ve heard reference to cookbooks The Daily News used to publish. And I’d like to try that again. Oh, I know we’re in the age when you can Google most any dish you want to make – and then some. But we all have a handful of priceless, age-old family recipes, passed down from one generation to the next, some of them unique to our tribe.

I’d like to be able to share some of your recipes with readers. To that end, you’ll start to notice features throughout our paper, on different days of the week, where we request your family favorites – whether they’re healthy, fat filled, gluten free or whatnot. All categories welcome be it appetizers, salads, main dishes or desserts. If you love it, we want to try it.

Send your recipes with a little history, if you have it, along with your name and contact information to me at juliestafford@staffordgroup.com or 109 N. Lafayette, Greenville, MI 48838.

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