Grammy’s baking

In my 20s I thought baking and cooking were only for 1950s housewives, and there was no way I would be caught doing such archaic and boring tasks. Now that I am older and somewhat wiser, I recognize the soothing nature of baking: the smells, the warm kitchen, the feel of dough and the satisfaction of seeing something turn out perfectly and disappear within a day.

In my grandmothers’ day, of course, it was a necessity of life. Baking bread for a family of seven must have been daunting enough, but my other grammy baked for 13, which is, to me, almost unimaginable. How many loaves of bread each week? The mind boggles. All I know is that growing up, I spent a lot of time at both grammy’s houses and there was always something delicious to eat. Grammy Campbell knew many recipes by heart, and would just pour and mix and knead up a batch of biscuits in minutes, no recipe required. Of course her batches were huge, after years of baking biscuits for her husband and 11 growing children. My cousins and I would go out picking blueberries in the fields around the family farm, and what didn’t get eaten was brought in to Grammy. She would help us whip up a gorgeous blueberry cake that tasted like no other, light and fluffy and dotted generously with royal blue berries.

I have started planning our holiday baking, browsing through my recipe books and deciding which were the greatest hits and misses from last year. I have a few recipes in my handwritten book from both of my grandmothers, and they are still some of my favourites. What I always find funny (and risky) is the lack of detail in their recipes. Often there is no real instruction, like “blend this” or “cream that,” nor is there always a recommended time or temperature to cook. They just assume we are all sensible enough to figure it all out.

Grammy Acorn’s Gumdrop Cake

1 cup margarine

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 large can crushed pineapple with juice

3 cups of flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking power

1 tsp vanilla

bag of gumdrops (not the baking kind)

1 lb. sultana raisins

Take out the black gumdrops and give them to someone who likes them. Flour the candies and fruit. Mix all ingredients. Bake at 300-350 degrees F until firm on top.

Grammy Campbell’s Rolled-out Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup margarine

1 cup of brown sugar

1 egg

3/4 teaspoon soda dissolved in 3 tablespoons hot water

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups rolled oats

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients together. Chill and roll out. Bake in a hot oven.

Do you have any special recipes from family that you would like to share? I would love to get some new ideas.


5 thoughts on “Grammy’s baking

  1. Meredith says:

    It has been at least 30 years since I’ve had one, but every time I smell molasses cookies baking, I think of Nanny Taylor (oh ya, also the bucket incident too!).

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