Mummum wrote out this one in September of 2001, just before Scott and I got married.
Brad’s Favorite Butterscotch Pie 9-2001 [Brad was my grandfather’s nickname]
And this one a few years later
Fold in pecan halves coat each pecan well.
Place on cookie sheet. covered with wax paper. separate do not overlap. Bake 250 oven 1/2 hr. turn off heat til stand in oven ½ hr. peel off freeze well keep air tight can.
And Poppa gave us this one when he realized Scott, a historian, loved his corn pudding
Corn Pudding – KY Historical Soc.
2 cans cream style corn
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons (heaping) all purpose flour
3 eggs (slightly beaten
2 tablespoons sugar (stir 2 or 3 times during cooking
1 1/2 c milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
Add salt, sugar, baking powder & flour to corn stir well. Add milk & egg mixture to corn pour into 2 qt. casseroles. Cook 1 hr. @ 350 [degrees]
Do you see the differences? How, for our wedding, Mummum chose to give us her true love’s favorite dessert? How her ruined eyesight sent the script scrawling down the page, because even when the paper had lines, she couldn’t see them? (More even than it disabled her, the blindness humiliated her. And she was a child of the Depression who stalwartly rejected many of the tools that would have made living easier.) How the lack of eyesight rendered her always hard-to-decipher handwriting almost completely illegible? (And she was the writer. Everyone knew Sue for her correspondence. She sent us letters upon letters until her last few years, when writing, too, was stolen by the glaucoma.) Do you see how, though her impeccable English grammar shaped my own language, that absence of sight filled her words with mistakes?
And do you see how, even late in life, Poppa’s writing remained steady? (Oh how he cursed it when his surgeon’s hands began to shake with a palsy possibly caused by diabetes or some vagary of old age.) Can you understand why he was the family cook by the time I was old enough to remember? Why, even though Mummum wrote two of these recipes down, it is Poppa with whom I remember baking?
Then I can tell you this.
My grandfather’s kitchen is sunny. One wall is a mural of peeling flowers, where Mom orchestrated paintings by her high school friends over forty years ago. The kitchen sink judders every time we turn on the hot faucet, because we need to bleed the air from the lines again. And the room smells of spices and bread, of an oven warm in winter.
This post was composed for the Write on Edge RemembeRed prompt asking for a memory in a recipe. I collect family members’ recipes, in their own handwriting, so that I can remember something concrete about them. My grandparents are gone now, but I have this part of them forever.
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.