Recently my mom gave me an old blue tin decorated with tiny white flowers and a big white chicken. I opened the small tin to find it filled with the recipes my grandmother and her friends used to trade and share. This tradition is such a special one; friends coming together to share things they love. I imagine this was their version of Facebook and Instagram. I can picture them all sitting together with a cup of coffee or tea sharing their most favorite recipes with each other as the time flies by talking about everything except baking and cooking.
I took some time to rearrange and organize the different recipes my grandmother had collected. From casseroles to cocktails she had it all! Of course the most popular were the deserts and bakes, which is where my heart lies. I have tried my hand at cooking, but there is something about baking that pulls at my heart strings. Is it the warmth of the oven and the perfectly measured ingredients? Or maybe just the satisfaction of a sweet treat after all of your hard work.
Growing up I didn’t have much interest in spending time in the kitchen creating new bakes with my mom and sister. Apparently I was more interested in playing in mud puddles and finding new bugs in the woods (admittedly that still sounds like a lot of fun). As I begrudgingly became an adult I realized that if I could just follow the instructions for a simple recipe I could probably do it. Then I tried and I did! Discovering these recipes my grandmother had makes them all that much more special.
The way these recipes are written is for someone who already knows their way around a macaron like the back of their hand. Some of these only have ingredients and no instructions. Am I the only one impressed by that? I can just imagine my grandma in the kitchen grabbing a recipe for “Apple Surprise” and gathering all of the ingredients while snickering to herself, “Of course Edna wouldn’t give me the instructions!” Then taking a sip of her whiskey while simultaneously getting the flour and sugar out of the pantry. To me that takes real skill and intuition to know how to bake and create without any instructions. Ideally I would be at this skill level, but that takes years of practice! And then you wouldn’t get the joy of reading about my #fails here.
This is why I am starting a new series: Rethinking the Classics. There is something to be learned in the simplicity of these recipes that these women shared. There was a shared knowledge of the absolute basics of a cake, the whimsy of a pudding or the finesse of “apple surprise”. I will be following their original recipes, but also my attempt to add some modern flare. I have what I would consider a solid baking foundation, but am not an expert by any means. Follow me along in this new adventure to remember the past and celebrate the future.
Cheers & chocolate!