Cooking with Grandma!

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Hospitality Queen
Sep 2, 2004
Southern California
It seems everyone had the grandma who showed them a thing or two with cooking. Let's hear some stories!

My grandma is amazing. I inherited my sweet tooth from her. I remember her getting out a bag of the newly invented Reese's peanut butter baking chips and we sat on the floor of her living room, seeing how many landed in our mouths when we flung them into the air. Her oven always had something baking, usually cookies, or her amazing blackberry cobbler. She made Monster Cookies for us, which is a secret family recipe. She'd bake a ton (they are as large as a round eggo waffle) and freeze them. When we would come over, she'd pop one in the toaster for each child and they'd taste just like they'd come out of the oven. She's still kicking, at age 90. What a remarkable woman!
Oh how well I remember the days spent with grandma and grandpa.

Grandma and I would get up in the early morning and go into the kitchen where she would let me help her fix breakfast so that it would be ready for grandpa when he got up to get ready for work.

It has been many years but I can still almost smell the bacon and eggs cooking. And there was the toast with butter and grandmas home-made strawberry jam.

And I must not forget to mention the coffee with cream and sugar...yes grandma and grandpa let me have coffee.

Anyway I'd get the table set for the three of us and grandma would fill each plate and then grandpa would come out of the bedroom and we'd all sit down to eat.

Grandpa would look into my cup to see what I was drinking and he'd growl "grrrrrrrrrrrrr that stuff will put hair on your chest" and then just laugh.
My grandmother was one of those cooks who made it all seem so easy, and did things so quick, you blinked, and she was done. She made no mess to clean up, and there were no dirty dishes when she was done. It was like magic! Presto, there is another cherry pie, exactly like all of her pies -- perfect!

She sold pies for many years during the depression from the back of a truck at a local industrial plant. Grandma couldn't make enough pies to satisfy the demand.

My grandfather was reknown locally for his barbeque. When grandad barbequed, everybody showed up!

I was grandma's baby. My grandmother babysat for me when my mother went back to work when I was 8 weeks old. Until kindergarten, everywhere that grandma went, I was sure to go...hanging onto her skirt for dear life!

I learned to be quiet so I didn't get sent away to play, and I watched everything they did in the kitchen, garden, and other activities.
How lucky you were, choclatechef! Both of my grandmas lived too far away from Illinois for me to be around them much (Louisiana and California). The things I missed learning about!
I didn't get to spend much time with my maternal grandmother. She lived only about 8 blocks away, but for some reason, my dad would not let me spend much time with her. :twisted:

I regret that now, but it was not my fault.

Yes, you missed an awful lot by not having your grandparents nearby. I was spoiled absolutely rotten, and learned so much! I even got to spend time with great aunts, older cousins, my paternal great grandmother, and of course aunts and uncles.

I got so I preferred being with older people than being with kids my own age, I was so spoiled. Everything I did was praised and talked about as being wonderful!
i never met my maternal grandparents, they unfortunately passed before i was born, same as my paternal grandfather, and my dad's mom only lived a few years past that. so for those of you who have had relationships with your grandparents, cherish every second of it.

i did have a kind of set of adopted grandparents. when i was in my late teens thru my late 20's, i dated an italian american girl with whom i became very close to her grandparents. her grandpa was from sicily, her grandma was from calabria. they were the best. when we would go visit them in florida, they waited on us hand and foot, with some of the best italian home cooking you can imagine. peppers and eggs for breakfast with grapefruit from the trees in the backyard. great big heroes of meatball and sausage parm for lunch, and i can't even begin to describe the dinners. you could taste all of the love that went into these dishes.

one of my favorite things to do was get up before dawn with grandpa louie, and go crabbing on the bridge leading out to anna maria island off the coast of bradenton. grandma celina would already be up (if someone needed food, she just wouldn't ever sleep) making us the pepper and egg sammiches. btw, you NEVER turned down food in their house, not that you would want to anyway. we would get our catch of blue claws, bring them home, clean them and hand them to grandma. then my girlfriend and i would spend the day on the beach, knowing and drooling with anticipation what was coming for dinner. grandma would make a big pot of crab marinara, served over angel hair. it was one of the messiest meals you could eat, first sucking the marinara off the crab parts, then cracking the shells and eating the crabmeat. but it was just the best dinner. we would sit around the table for hours, chatting and sucking on the crabs, enjoying all the love only grandparents and grandchildren can share.

i miss them very much. they both passed shortly before we broke up. in fact, whenever i think of them, if something jogs my memories of them, i always smile, with a lump in my throat, and tell them how much they meant to me; how much i learned from them, and how i hope i can be even a fraction of the wonderful parents and grandparents they were.
As long as you pass on to Ryan what you're sharing with us here, you need not worry about cranking out the memories for future grandkids, buckytom.
And that's the absolute truth! What a wonderful story, bucky. What wonderful people, I'm sure.

Being a military brat, I saw my grandparents precious little, but when I did, they made up for lost time in the cooking, drinking and just having fun departments. My paternal g'father was taught me to play poker and gave me my first taste of scotch at the ripe age of about twelve..... It took.
Ah grandparents , I spent much of my time with my paternal grandma, as my other grandmother ran a hotel and I hated to be cooped up...i learned a lot about being a grandma from mine :) Why, I learned you can tell me to duck but don't tell me to eat one GRamere did :) I came home from school, looked for my pet duck and was told she ran away...Come in for dinner dear we are having chicken tonight..Well as little as I was, I knew how my grandma cooked chicken and how she did duck..and that chicken smelled and looked just like her duck in wine!!! :LOL: YUP she cooked my DUCK!!! :) But, she did teach me to make pasties and gave me my first red wine, mixed with a little sugar and water :) Taught me to grow lettuce, carrots, peas, cucumbers and cook frogs legs :) And I learned, to always tell my grandkis the truth, and to never ever cook their ducks :shock: :)
kadesma :LOL:
This is a pretty good thread guys!

My grandparents were Scots/Irish/English immigrants to the "frozen plains"...

The paternal grandfather you met in an earlier thread under Beverages and Rum...a Scotsman who came over in the late 1800's, back for WWI, subsequently a railroader with the CPR through the tough years of the '30's, and as straight and good a man as you could ever meet...he married a lady from Lincoln, England at the end of the war, and they returned to Canada, as they said, "in Britain, it was already decided what you were, and were going to Canada, you had your chance to evolve..." (truer words never spoken!)

Anyways, not much as cooks, tho' Granddad's "cousin" Annie, could both read tea leaves and cook the damndest scones, but the skill died with her, as it was "eyeball measuring" paternal Grandmother's contribution to the art of cooking was "toad in the hole", which was basically a pork sausage wrapped in dough and the '30's, my Dad told me, you were lucky if you go the one with meat in it...poverty was terrible on the plains at that time...

My Irish grandfather was an incredible man, emigrating in the late 1880's (an aunt did a family history of his early life on the literally unbroken Cdn prairies with photo's...its incredible, and I converted it to CD if you want a few shots), he brought "Granny" over from Ireland in the early 1900's and the two lived in literally a shack, but were good honest pioneer types, as witness my odd posts about "cereal", "headcheese", etc, these would not have been amiss at their tables in those years, as you didn't leave any meat unused...

Unfortunately, my mother was killed very early in my life, and my Dad remarried, another pioneer daughter of Norwegian extraction, who was, in fact, an incredible cook, that she vehemently denied...saying "good meat is hard to ruin", but was a baker beyond belief with that outwordly ability to "see" where the dough or pastry needed another pinch of this or that, and thus I grew up eating very well indeed!

As BBQ's were just then coming into fashion in Canada, I got to see the "experiments" on the charcoal cookers (including some spectacular explosions on ignition, where "gas" was deemed "cheaper" than BBQ lighter, but I digress!) and watched my Dad "experiment" on how to cook various foods, without a whole whack of instructional materials being available (let alone "affordable" at that point!) He did very well, and of course, I'm no Saint as a person, so was often "grounded" to the kitchen table or the backyard BBQ, and thus caused to watch my parents "do their magic" on food...unwittingly "learning" some neat tricks unconciously, and a spirit that it wasn't that weird to try new things or methods...

I was ably assisted in this in that one uncle, a Navy Chief, was a butcher with his own store, and he taught me an awful lot about "meat", and the cutting and hanging...

My parents were greatly amused/relieved/delighted when I joined the Army, thinking this would knock some of the mickey from my prehensile behaviours, and, while it probably helped in that regard, it put me in contact with a society of people that could "take an order" rather stoically, and "make it happen"...sort of the original "out of the box" thinking method...and there I made undoubtably the best friends of my life, including the lady who introduced me to my wife, her sister...

HER family was all English (meaning they couldn't cook worth a damn either!)...aside from her Mom knew how to make salad out of dandelions, and what part of "pigweed" was edible (she grew up in the southern plains of Saskatchewan, and her parents passed away young, so got layered with the bring up the siblings tasks! In what passes for "spring", back then, there was little to eat for fresh greens, so this was a necessity!)(Even though its a bit of a pain to have your MIL picking at your lawn, to make salads for your kids, and explaining that you had both fertilised it and put weed killer on, and so was this really a good idea?)

However, Marg's father was a meat inspector, and so, she never tasted bologna or hot dogs, or, in fact, any processed meat until she left home, as Harold would not allow it in his house! He knew what was in there!

Again, one hell of a man, sadly lost, soon after we married, to the frightening Alzheimers (which together with ALS/Lou Gherigs Disease, is sometthing I hope you can all see your way clear to financially supporting both research and a cure!)

Marg's Mom was a wonderful woman and grandparent! It was family "legend" that you waited until the next offspring was 2 or 3, and then you sent them to Grandma's place for the weekend...and they'd come back "potty trained"...this worked like a charm, until our last, who was subsequently identified/diagnosed as PDD and Autistic, threw a screw in the mix...he untied himself from the "leash" attached to the clothesline, and went "awandering"...never one to "enjoy" "wet pants" he resented the instruction to "sit" on the "thundermug" until he "produced" in his "wanderings" he wound up at the home of one of Grandma's neighbours and friends, who managed to have him sitting in a highchair and amused with a few toys...while Grandma was shrieking up and down the street, wondering where he'd gone....she (the neighbour) called out "Mary, are you looking for a little red-headed boy? He's in here, and playing at my table!"...Grandma reportedly cried "Why won't he do that for ME?"

Anyways, that about where I come carry on about yourselves, I really enjoy the personal snapshots of your personalities, or where uou can figure out how to do it, your faces!

Sorry if I've carried on too long, but watching Baseball, its too easy to do...

Grandma's cooking brings up fond memories of my beloved Puerto Rican grandma. Christmas at grandma's house was filled with food, laughter and dance. But the food, oh my,............Arroz Con Dulce (candied coconut rice), Orruz Con Gandules (gandule rice), Pasteles and a lot more. Grams died when I was just 11, but her recipes are carried on by my Mom and Aunties. My sisters and I are learning them now. It's not Christmas without our Puerto Rican food. Thank-you for letting me share my grandma with you.
Unknowningly, my grandparents -- both sets made me aware of the need to have quality cooking equipment. Neither set of grandparents had much money, although my paternal grandparents had a little more than the maternal side.

When you went into their kitchens, you would find the heaviest gauge cast iron and aluminum cookware that was available -- some were commercial grade. They figured, and rightly so, that they could not afford to replace things that wore out, so they bought the best.

The family was a large one, and they needed some larger sized pots and pans to cook for their children, grandchildren, and other family members who lived with them. And of course, my grandmother baked and sold her pies.

They waited and saved to do this. And of course, if they could find a quality piece of kitchen equipment they wanted used; they bought it. Sometimes they would get a nice piece of kitchen equipment from their employers.

This was their pattern even as far as knives and utensils were concerned also. They owned mostly the heavy carbon steel knives that butchers used at that time -- Dexter Russell and Foster Bros.

They had a huge garden, picked wild greens, and of course since they had no freezer, would do a great deal of canning.

My grandad worked for a long while at a creamery, so they had all of the milk, cream, and butter they wanted.
My grandmother made homemade sausage and sauerkraut. They were off the chart good. She would have all the relatives over on Sunday. There would be that plus homemade pies. Her mincemeat and her rhubarb were my favorites. The family never got together like that after she passed.

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