“What would you give for an afternoon in your grandmother’s kitchen?”
This statement on the back cover of a new cookbook made me stop and think. I never had the opportunity to cook with either of my grandmothers. They both died when I was very young. I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to watch them as they took whatever ingredients they had on hand and prepared delicious family meals in a wood stove.
Personally, I have always wanted my grandchildren to learn to cook. Meagan, my first grandchild, was cooking at the age of 4. I am proud to say that now, as a mother, she is an excellent cook.
Another granddaughter, Emily, has been watching the Food Network and experimenting with ideas for several years. Christi is considering a career in the culinary field. All three grandsons are also good cooks.
Faye Porter, author of “At My Grandmother’s Table,” so vividly describes a grandmother in the kitchen you just feel as though you are right there watching and learning. “These savored stories and delicious family recipes will transport you to that place of love and warmth, security and contentment,” Porter writes. So true.
These recipes, contributed by grandchildren across the country, are truly classics upon which many wonderful memories have been built. When I started reading this cookbook, I couldn’t seem to put it down. There is a whole section devoted to breakfast, an important meal in the South. I have heard for years about tomato gravy but have never tasted it. Now that I have the recipe, tomorrow morning’s breakfast might be Tomato Breakfast Gravy with hot biscuits. I may also include Grandmother Caldwell’s Petite Coffee Cakes.
Of course, I was intrigued by all the wonderful desserts. As I read the recipes, I could almost taste each cake, cookie and pie. One in particular that caught my attention was Nanny’s Coconut Cracker Cake. I can hardly wait to try this unusual cake. I know it is going to delight my palate because it has both pineapple and coconut in it — two of my favorite dessert ingredients. I wonder if perhaps this Nanny didn’t have any flour on hand and maybe substituted the cracker crumbs.
There are also great recipes for soups, salads, entrees and beverages. I can see that this cookbook is going to keep me busy in the kitchen.
You will definitely want to add it to your collection, full of wonderful recipes and stories that will take you back to your childhood. It would also make a great gift for Mother’s Day.
NANNY’S COCONUT CRACKER CAKE
Vegetable shortening to prepare pan
32 saltine crackers, crushed
2 cups sugar
2 cups walnuts, chopped
6 large egg whites, beaten stiff
1 (12 ounce) container whipped topping
1 (16 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup coconut flakes
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan. In a large bowl mix the crackers, sugar, walnuts and egg whites. Pour into the pan and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Top with the whipped topping, pineapple and coconut flakes. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
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