Monday, November 24, 2008

Channeling Grandma Hall

I've been thinking about Grandma Hall and Grandad Pipe a lot lately.  I guess I always do around the holidays.  Sister's Two comment about not remembering them coming to the house really struck me.  I am so lucky --- I got the version that wasn't in a wheel chair sitting around waiting to die.  I got the vibrant one that baked three times a week and played games with you no matter what.  She even let you cheat.  Not that I ever did of course.  She made blarney stones for St. Patrick's Day, and divinity and fudge for Christmas.  She grew amazing flowers and always had a fresh boquet.  She died carnations two colors.  She made everything look effortless and she loved all of us unconditionally.
She was the epitome of domestication.  She had a regular routine.  Shopping was done on Friday, baking was done three times a week, spaghetti was made for her favorite grandkid on Wednesdays.  You get the idea.  Now me, I've already established that the only thing domestic about me is that I live in a house.  That's even debateable --- judging by the cobwebs in the guest bedroom where the mouse picture in the last post was taken!
Thinking about Grandma made me think about my childhood favorite cookie that she baked:  applesauce cookies.  I've only had them once since I graduated from high school.  When I worked at Cedar Canyon, we had a cookie exchange and Mary came home from Peru to make them for me.  Missy was six weeks old and she put her in a front-loading pouch and proceeded to make umpteen dozen cookies for me.
Mary is having her annual cookie exchange the first Saturday in December.  This is the fourth or fifth year that she has done this and we are really looking forward to it.  We missed it last year because of the weather.  Mardell always does the baking, because as I've established, I am not the least bit domestic. I decided to channel Grandmother Hall and give it a try tonight.  I stopped by Mom's this morning (I'm up six points on you Sister Two)  and picked up Grandma's original recipe.  I braved the grocery store and picked up all of the necessary ingredients.  Who knew that cloves were so danged expensive?  
I made lasagna this evening and decided to bake afterwards.  That I've done several times with huge success, so I figured adding on some cookies would be no big deal ... and to the average person it wouldn't be.  I didn't bake growing up.  Oh sure, I made a cake and brownies here and there, but I didn't bake.  That would have cut into my time spent outdoors running around like a banshee, playing kickball and generally terrorizing my sisters and the smaller neighborhood children who were their friends.  
Besides, who needed to bake when you could bike over to Grandma's and raid the cookie jar?  She was always good for an ice cold Coke as well.  Taking her recipe in hand, I cautiously began.  I am a literal cook .... I follow the recipe to a T.  Everything is measured ... I don't guess at anything.  Let's just say that Grandma's recipe leaves a lot to be desired.  It's more like an ingredient list.  I was sure that twisting her wedding ring around on my finger would channel her and I would miraculously instinctively know what to do.  
I know I've seen somebody on the Food Network cream butter and sugar before.  Um, Grandma, just when do you add the spices?  How hot should the oven be and how long should I bake them?  Frost with powder sugar frosting ... okay.  Is that the stuff I used to mix up at the donut shop?
Thank gosh Mardell was a home ec. teacher in a previous life!  I'm sure she is still snickering.  But she's doing it with a mouth full of cookie while she does it!
I don't recall Grandma's kitchen looking like a tornado had ripped through it when she baked!  I have to admit that they were easy to make and every bit as good as I remember.  I'm sure they aren't nearly as good as Grandma's and I wish I knew where my animal coffe can was to store them in!
Oh, and Mom .... Mardell is going to drop a couple off for you sometime today.  (That's worth another four or five points, Sister Two!)


SisterTwo said...

I do have memories before the nursing home, just not them coming to OUR house. I remember playing a game(s) of marbles all afternoon on her yellow kitchen table. I remember being able to blow bubbles in my milk glass with a straw until to foamed over the top. I remmber holiday dinners jammed into her kitchen. I also remember visiting her every day after school at the nursing home and all the great stories. I miss those chats even twenty years later!

Do you remember Krista got her purple ribbon at fair with Grandmother's Apple Sauce Cookie recipe. Yum..... I need to go bake some.

Sue said...

Oh my - the memories you bring up.

SisterTwo said...

Applesauce Cookies (Grandmother Hall’s)

½ c oleo
½ c brown sugar
½ c sugar
1 egg slightly beaten
1 t soda
1 c applesauce (unsweetened)
2 c flour - not sifted
1 t cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg
½ t salt
½ t baking power
1 c chopped raisins
½ c chopped nuts
Cream oleo, sugar - add egg - blend
Add soda to applesauce and stir into mixture
Add flour
Frost with powder sugar frosting.

Mardell said...

I'd say for not being a cookie baker ever she did quite a fantastic job. ;)