Gifts From The Past

I count myself lucky that I had living grandparents well into my adult life. I lost my last great-grandparent while I was in college.  I still had all four of my grandparents when I got married, and even for the birth of my first child.  Sadly time marches on, and we slowly lost one after another.  A little over a year ago I lost my last living grandparent, my father’s mother.  I’m well into my forties, so I have no right to complain about time being cut short.

Growing up I spent lots of time with my grandparents.  My mother’s mother was a “housewife”.  She raised five kids in a house that was tiny by today’s standards, and she baked cakes as a side business to earn a little extra money.  I wish I had paid more attention to what she was doing as she decorated wedding cakes and birthday cakes.  I can remember her spending hours making roses and flowers out of frosting by hand and placing them on wax paper to dry.  The house always smelled like cake.  The best part was eating the scraps she cut off.

My father’s mother was also a “housewife”. She loved to tell stories about her childhood in the great depression into WWII.  She was not a wealthy woman, but her childhood taught her how to make the most of what little she had.  She cooked everything from scratch, and nothing was wasted.  Somehow there was always enough for everyone, no matter how many people showed up for dinner (and there always seemed to be an extra guest at the table).

My sister has had the task of sorting through grandma’s small estate since she passed.  This year after Thanksgiving dinner we went through some boxes of remaining items.  I was delighted to find all her recipes stuffed into one of the boxes.  Most were neatly organized into old bank envelopes by categories: Pies, cookies, cakes, casseroles, etc.  

Inside each envelope were dozens of index cards with hand written recipes for all of the treats I remembered her making over the years.  Strawberry pie, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, old fashion cream pie…so many memories.

These will definitely be making appearances on the blog for years to come.  There was also a book from the 1950’s full of helpful Household tips.  I have to find a way to work some of those into the blog as well.  The tin recipe box and the old cigar box are full of recipes she gathered from all over.  Magazines, newspapers, box labels, dear Abby articles, you name it.

The most surprising find was the complete set of patriotic cookie cutters, still in the box.

Box set of tin patriotic cookie cutters

Sadly there is no year anywhere on the box, but they look to be from the 50’s or 60’s.  Cookies hold a special place in my heart, and get more than their fair share of blog space.  I see a summer patriotic cookie spectacular in 2019.  The Easter bunny cookie cutters look to be older than these, but again no way to know for sure.

While I’m sad that I can no longer sit and talk with my grandparents, their memories will live on and they will be there every time I use a recipe, or bake a cookie.

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