June 22, 2007

Recipes From The Past

My parents are completely renovating their house so they have (or are in the process of) moving to a rental house and cleaning everything out. Whilst going through stuff, my mom found a whole bunch of recipes, both hand-written and clipped from newspapers, that belonged to my Grandma Rosiak, who was a very good cook. She asked if I wanted to go through them, so I said sure. I went through them a couple of days ago and pulled some out that sounded particularly good. It was funny, though, noticing some patterns.

Background first--my Grandma had a massive stroke when I was 10 years old and was completely incapacitated on one side of her body. She was never able to gain use of that side, including speech, which was extremely difficult for her. She passed away when I was 16, but unfortunately, nearly all of my memories of her are from when she was incapacitated. I only have a handful of memories from before I was 10.

So flipping through the recipes, I pulled one out and thought "Wow, that sounds fantastic!" It was for chocolate cake with vanilla frosting--my most favorite kind of cake. And then it hit me--I remember her making this once!!! I love chocolate cake but prefer not to have chocolate frosting because it's too much for me. It's really hard to find a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. However, I remember having this cake with my Grandma and I think that's when I decided that chocolate cake with vanilla frosting is the most heavenly concoction ever to come out of a cake pan.

Along those lines, I would say that on the whole, a majority of the recipes were for cakes, coffee cakes, breads, and cheesecake. Grandma definitely had a sweet tooth. There were also some ingredients that were rather amusing:

-Tang! Perfect for a fruit salad!
-Creamed cottage cheese! I had never heard of this before, but on the back of one of the newspaper clippings there was an advertisement for a specific brand of creamed cottage cheese
-Watermelon rind pickles! Sign me up!

Most of the recipes did come from the newspaper. There was a regular feature called the "Recipe Swap Shop" in which one woman would write in with a recipe she needed, and another would write in with the recipe. It was all very quaint and looked like this:

"My German grandmother used to make a wonderful apfel kuchen, but I've lost the recipe. It used a small touch of vinegar. Does anyone know of it? --Mrs. Hilda Schroeder"
-next week-
"I believe I have the recipe for apfel kuchen that Mrs. Schroeder is looking for. [recipe] --Mrs. Mary Kozlowski "

Other recipes were ones that were featured in articles. My favorite was for "Never Fail Pie Crust," which the contributor helpfully adds, "Even a bride will get excellent results." And then there were strange recipes in strange places. In the National Enquirer (yes, the same tabloid we have today, which was still a tabloid back then) I found a recipe from the "Cookbook Of The Stars" feature for "Jerry Lewis' Egg Dumplings." I had no idea Mr. Lewis cooked!

Posted by Shelby at June 22, 2007 03:01 PM

I can't wait to see all the "treasures" your mom finds after the move.

Brad is there as we speak and I'm 1/2 expecting him to bring home lots of interesting trinkets.

I love the recipies. Would love to see the Never Fail Pie Crust one.

Posted by: Katrina at June 23, 2007 09:16 AM

Wow, are your parents still in the same house they were in when we were in jr. high? I love that house.

Posted by: Raz at June 26, 2007 07:48 PM
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