These are recipes from my grandparents.

Mummum wrote out this one in September of 2001, just before Scott and I got married.

Brad’s Favorite Butterscotch Pie 9-2001 [Brad was my grandfather’s nickname]

Butterscotch pie front of card1 cup brown sugar
5 tablespoons of flour } mix
Add 1/2 cup of water
When thick add 2 egg yolkes[sic]
2 table spoons [sic] butter
1 teaspoon vanilla few grains salt

Butterscotch pie Back of CardCook allogether [sic] til thick. Pour into baked pie shell.
Cool whip topping



And this one a few years later

Great Grand Mother Bradshaw’s  coated [?] pecan haves [sic]
Coated Pecans Front of card (do you see how she couldn't tell she was starting on the unlined side?)1 egg white
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups of pecan halves
Beat egg whie [sic] til it stans[sic] in soft peaks

Coated Pecans 2Fold in pecan halves coat each pecan well.
Place on cookie sheet. covered with wax paper. separate do not overlap. Bake 250 oven 1/2 hr. turn off heat til stand in oven ½ hr. peel off freeze well keep air tight can.




And Poppa gave us this one when he realized Scott, a historian, loved his corn pudding

Corn Pudding – KY Historical Soc.
corn puddingPreheat oven
2 cans cream style corn
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons (heaping) all purpose flour
3 eggs (slightly beaten
2 tablespoons sugar  (stir 2 or 3 times during cooking
1 1/2 c milk
1 teaspoon baking powder

Add salt, sugar, baking powder & flour to corn stir well. Add milk & egg mixture to corn pour into 2 qt. casseroles. Cook 1 hr. @ 350 [degrees]

Do you see the differences? How, for our wedding, Mummum chose to give us her true love’s favorite dessert? How her ruined eyesight sent the script scrawling down the page, because even when the paper had lines, she couldn’t see them? (More even than it disabled her, the blindness humiliated her. And she was a child of the Depression who stalwartly rejected many of the tools that would have made living easier.) How the lack of eyesight rendered her always hard-to-decipher handwriting almost completely illegible? (And she was the writer. Everyone knew Sue for her correspondence. She sent us letters upon letters until her last few years, when writing, too, was stolen by the glaucoma.) Do you see how, though her impeccable English grammar shaped my own language, that absence of sight filled her words with mistakes?

And do you see how, even late in life, Poppa’s writing remained steady? (Oh how he cursed it when his surgeon’s hands began to shake with a palsy possibly caused by diabetes or some vagary of old age.) Can you understand why he was the family cook by the time I was old enough to remember? Why, even though Mummum wrote two of these recipes down, it is Poppa with whom I remember baking?


Then I can tell you this.

My grandfather’s kitchen is sunny. One wall is a mural of peeling flowers, where Mom orchestrated paintings by her high school friends over forty years ago. The kitchen sink judders every time we turn on the hot faucet, because we need to bleed the air from the lines again. And the room smells of spices and bread, of an oven warm in winter.

remembeRedButtonThis post was composed for the Write on Edge RemembeRed prompt asking for a memory in a recipe. I collect family members’ recipes, in their own handwriting, so that I can remember something concrete about them. My grandparents are gone now, but I have this part of them forever.


15 thoughts on “Recipes

  1. Thanks! I really had fun writing this one. I’ve been enjoying these prompts SO much. I’m thinking that it’s really all people who couldn’t get enough of this kind of assignment back in high school and/or college. If so, I’m all in!

  2. What treasures! And how wonderful that their handwriting tells their stories. I love the thought of that kitchen with the floral walls and you baking with your grandpa and the sweet smelling warmth. Great post.

  3. Those walls are legend in our family. I have no idea to preserve them, but we’re going to. There’s restoration work necessary, but it’s this perfect picture of the late 1960’s preserved in giant orange-toned flowers.

    • Thanks! I haven’t used the ones from Mummum in so long that I had to get my husband to help me translate. And that brought back memories of how we used to handle her letters in my house. Mom would open the mail, translate as many words as she could, and then pass the letter off to someone else. Eventually, the piece would make the rounds and we’d have most of the words figured out.

  4. Beautiful prose! It’s interesting what you remember–a sink that judders(bonus points for that very descriptive word!!!)–and wonderful recipes handed down carefully. Who can be bothered to count calories when there’s such yummy food to be eaten?

    P.S. My family has a corn casserole recipe that is similar to your grandfather’s corn pudding. It requires an entire stick of butter, and it is delicious!

    • Ah yes, counting calories, my worst skill ever. I can’t do math in the first place (and I thank whatever greater power might exist on earth that our daughter and son BOTH seem to have my husband’s math mind) so when I try to add math to health maintenence, the result is a gloppy disaster.

      Thanks for the traffic and comment! I’m learning how to link my blog, and I’m really enjoying (i.e. becoming addicted to) making new connections.

  5. Your grandfather’s kitchen reminds me of my Gram’s kitchen. I’m pretty sure her sink did the juddering too. I wish I had some of her “recipes,” but she just knew how to make stuff, she didn’t write recipes down. So much of what she made is lost and it’s a bummer.

    • I was lucky enough that my grandfather mourned exactly that loss of his own mother’s recipes. (Also, he really was a surgeon. At some level, he was programmed to record every action he took so he could repeat it later if necessary.) So he made a point to pass down to my Mom, to me, to anyone who would listen, the delicious things that he, my grandmother, and my great grandparents could cook. Someday, I will compile a book. And it will have all his handwritten notes, and Mummum’s too.

  6. By the way, if anyone is actually planning to make the pecan thingies, be sure you mix all those other not-pecan things into the egg whites before you whip it into peaks. Mummum kind of forgot that part.

  7. Love your ‘addendum’ above! That’s what makes family recipes so special isn’t it. The things that were left out – not that that was deliberate but the writer knew just how to do it.

    Loved the memory of your grandfather’s kitchen. I could hear that tap juddering.

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