Friday, April 30, 2010

A Diamond in the Rough

i like to say my love of cooking came from my three grandmothers. three??? you say? my mom's mother, julia (mommom), my dad's mother, ellen (grammy), and my best friend's grandmother, bea.

mommom started showing signs of alzheimer's when i was quite young and most of my memories, save a few blurry ones, are unfortunately of her sick. the disease finally took her right after i gratuated from college but she was gone long before that. i am lucky enough to see a bit of her in my own mother.

i knew grammy much better and have many fond memories of her chicken noodle soup and stocked pantry. she always could be counted on for a sweet hard candy in her purse. just like with mommom, i wish i could sit down with her today and pick her brain and hear her stories, but cancer took her when i was just 15.

i was also lucky enough to know and love bea from the time i was 13 until she passed away just a few years ago. my best friend, L, was kind enough to share her with me and she loved me like another grandchild. she was there for me to fill in when i no longer had my own grandmothers to spoil me.

so, like i said, i have been blessed with love, guidance, and influence from three wonderful women. all were excellent cooks and i like to think each are with me in the kitchen still today.

when going through some things at meadowvale, someone stumbled upon this
when i started to flip through it, i immediately thought of this too
i actually have no idea who wrote the first one, but it is incredible just to read it.
the date inside reads september 13, 1876.
there is a perfectly written index
seriously, check out that handwriting!
the recipes vary from cottage pudding to chicken salad, currant wine to caramel, and cucumber pickle to cream sauce. the recipes are all hand-written and include sentances like "add a tincup full of sugar to 4 eggs" and "mix 1/2 tumbler of sweet milk, 1 tumbler of sugar, and 2 tumblers of flour".
the second book is very dear to my heart as it has hand-written recipes from mommom. the inside cover reads "Judy Jessop 1943" and has a bunch of printed recipes as well as space to write in your own favorites. herein lies the treasure - her recipes she used on a regular basis written by her hand. it doesn't take long to discover she liked to bake. the most popluated pages are in the breads, cakes, and desserts sections. the reason that immediately springs to mind is my grandfather's sweet tooth. my mommom dedicated her life to my poppop and tried to make him happy in every way she could. let's just say a clear path to his heart was baked goods.
this one book contains family favorites like buckwheat pancakes, butter thumbprint cookies, lemon merangue pie, and crab imperial. i feel like this has given me a little bit of mommom right in my kitchen. i can make a recipe of hers now and feel like she is here with me, savoring every bite and, of course, enjoying dessert with me afterwards.
although i haven't quite decided what i am going to do with my newfound treasures, i'm sure these two books will pop up here again. and, if you ever need an old recipe for tomato sauce using 1 peck of tomatoes or homemade cough syrup, you know who to ask:)


  1. What a treasure!

  2. I know all 3 are VERY proud of you! so am I!! love you!

  3. This is absolutely amazing...Why don't you cook some recipes and write about it? I would love to read about that.

  4. been missing Bea all day and I thought of this post...had to read it! love you! proud to have you as my sister and friend!

  5. Been missing Bea all day and thought about this post...just had to read it! So thankful to have you as my friend and sister! xoxo


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