I was very fortunate to have two wonderful grandmothers. They were really very different in so many ways but both could cook and had large families. The thing I remember most was that everything tasted great at Grandma’s house and there was always enough for everyone no matter who showed up to eat.
I really don’t know how they did it because often times we would start out planning on a dinner for four and then soon there would be ten of us. Family was everything and inevitably we would all end up at Grandma’s for dinner and games after everything was cleaned up.
One thing I do not remember at Grandma’s is food from boxes. Occasionally, when one of them would come to babysit at our house I remember my Cherry Valley Grandma (that is what we called her because she was lived in Cherry Valley, Illinios although originally from Tennessee) making macaroni and cheese from a box. Now this particular Grandma was very frugal so when she made it she didn’t add the milk and butter. She would overcook it a bit, drain it only partially and then add the little packet of powdered cheese. To this day, I overcook my pasta because we prefer it that way. This Grandma taught me to consider each ingredient carefully and only use what was truly needed. Cherry Valley Grandma had a hard life and I had so much respect for her. She made use of God’s bounty around her and seemed to always feed us things that she had grown or picked herself after bartering something to have the right to do so.
Probably my favorite recipe from her was her Chicken and Dumplings. They were not the dropped kind. They were rolled out so not only did they taste good but you got to have fun making them with her too! They remind me of what you get a Cracker Barrel today.
My other Grandmother taught me that the greatest failure you could have as a cook was if you did not make enough. I don’t remember ever having dinner at her house that didn’t include two vegetables. She had this divided bowl that usually held corn and one other vegetable. We ate a lot of food at her house that if I think about it I really don’t eat today. I remember sauerkraut, buttered cabbage, pickled beets, goulash, and scalloped potatoes. But the strangest dish I had was spinach and oatmeal. The spinach was from a can and mixed with the oatmeal. I don’t know the rest of the recipe. I think there might have been an egg or two. This looked kind of nasty but it was quite good. I can remember choosing it when being given a choice of vegetable. (What kid today would pick spinach or oatmeal let alone combined! )
Now I am a grandmother. I wish I could say that I always cook from scratch but that just isn’t the truth. I love to cook when I have the time to do it properly. I am also a frugal cook like Cherry Valley Grandma. Both of my grandmothers have passed now but I remember them as if we were just together. Now I cook with my grandchildren and I can only hope they end up with happy memories of our time together.
I am going to try to make this site something useful for everyone. I want the young person just out on their own to be able to come to my site and not feel embarrassed because they had to look up how to make mashed potatoes. I want to encourage people to share their favorite recipes along with great photos so that we can become a community that helps each other. Recipes on this site will range from the most basic to intermediate unless of course we have a gourmet chef as a reader that decides to contribute some recipes.
Food is not good or bad on this site. Food is just food. Mealtime is not a time to fuss over whether you think you should eat something or not. Eat, spend time with your family, enjoy! Everything in moderation will take you further than the crazy fad of the decade. If there is anything I have learned over the years when it comes to food trends it is that this too shall pass.
Feel free to send me the recipes that you remember from your grandmother’s kitchen. It would be wonderful if it could include a picture. You may use the form on this page to submit your posts or you can just email them to [email protected] Don’t forget to tell us the best part and that is the story behind the recipe. Did you make this with your grandma?