It’s March Break Madness and I have nothing to show for it friends. I ran around all week getting ready for the break, exhausting my resources, patients, and ability to cook. You don’t even want to know how many meals were leftovers, take out, premade grocery store meals, or just plain fend for yourself, but I’ll tell you anyway. 100%. Pity my family because it did not get done, and I’m sorry to tell you I’m not sorry because that’s real life folks. Kudos to my husband and son because any real food that was eaten in our house this week was by their own hands, I contributed sass and side glances daring anyone to comment that we were still out of milk.
What I do have to share this week is a delightful, heart warming and kind of fun surprise that I discovered when I wasn’t looking.
This process of grieving and undoing and moving forward is a circuitous journey to be sure, and bittersweet in the way that sometimes its more bitter and sometimes it’s more sweet. Today we have some sweet.
My dad is awesome and I could not be more proud of him, every time I see him of late he has a new dish added to his cooking repertoire, and doing a good job of it to boot. Now, what’s wonderful about that is that he’s going through my mom’s cookbooks and finding some of her golden oldies and it’s kind of fun and precious for me at least get a culinary walk down memory lane with him at the helm.
Food was my mom’s love language. If she liked you, you knew it because she would serve you some amazing meals or home baking. She had tons of cookbooks but that wasn’t where she got her best recipes. No one really knew where she got her recipes because they were all in her head. You could ask her for a recipe and more often than not she’d laugh and tell you they were “up here” and point to her head. Some of them she did have written down, but they were recipes for large batches because over the years she worked in restaurants, catering business and bake shops where everything was mass. For the family she had to take the recipe and math it down (I just made math a verb) to a single family size. Other times she’s just tell you that she’d write it down and give it to you someday.
Well today we’ve hit a glorious intersection because my dad made some bang on rice pudding, and when I looked for the recipe source I found this blast from the past:
It looks old and dirty because it is. Mid to late 70’s at it’s finest. I won’t lie, I’d like some of that cheese ball.
This in itself is fun and I vaguely remember trying a few things from here when I was young and learning the ropes. I meant it’s Betty Crocker, am I right? Do people still own soup tureens…and use them? For real.
But what was the actual best was what I found within the book, handwritten in the blank spaces, in her own hand writing. Not all, but some of my mom’s recipes. Not complete, you still have to know a few basics to figure out the steps, and you have to decipher her occasional spelling mistakes, but there is a bit of gold in these pages if you dare.
I’m going to share them all below, feel free to give them a try and if you make any of them et me know how they turned out. For certain I will not be eating the braised liver. Don’t judge, they were different times.
I have no clue how many
So the meat pie recipe is probably the real deal here because she wrote it down twice. But I don’t know how many pies it makes and the amounts are adjusted between the two for large batch and small. I mean if you have 12lbs of hamburger kicking around to cook, by all means. I do recall that she would make meat pies at Christmas for her workplace to sell, so if this is that recipe, it’s probably the keeper from this pile.
But wait there is more! I cannot let the gem of the cookbook from Betty go by without sharing some of the good stuff. Namely nobody knows how to set a table any more and Betty left us with some photos in her cookbook that will give your dining room style for miles if you follow her tips. Take a look at these babies:
Hopefully I’ve inspired all of you to set yourself a fancy table circa 1978. Break our your soup tureen’s, try and decipher my mom’s tea biscuit recipe and let me know how it shakes out for you.
Here’s to sharing a nice meal and some good times with friends and family this week.