If God had intended us to follow recipes, He wouldn’t have given us grandmothers.~Linda HenleyMany years after my grandmother passed away, I received a gift in the mail from her. I was about to turn thirty and my mother sent me an envelope. “I know this isn’t her famous lemon pie,” my mother wrote, “but it is the next best thing.”Everyone eats cake for their birthday, right? Well, not our family. All we asked for was Grandmother’s famous lemon pie. This was the one thing she wouldn’t teach anyone, not even me. She was tight-lipped with this recipe. When asked what was in it she would say, “A little of this and a little of that.”Inside the envelope was a small index card. My throat tightened as I viewed the handwriting. “Famous Lemon Pie” was the title. Measurements were scratched out and rewritten. Clutching the card, I went to the kitchen to call my mom.“Where did you get this?” I asked when she got on the line.“I was cleaning out the attic and found a small box of her things. From the looks of it, she wasn’t even sure what she put in that pie,” my mother said.My grandmother was famous in her circle of friends. She was known for her handmade crafts, her acre garden that all the neighbors helped with, but most of all she was famous for her baked goods that she shared with everyone. The best thing about my grandmother is that she taught me everything she knew, almost everything.When I work on a craft, I feel her words of approval tickle my ears. Tending to my small but rewarding garden, the sun kisses the top of my head and I can feel her happiness wash over me. However, I never feel her presence more than when I am in the kitchen whipping up one of her favorite desserts.Now I was determined to have her lemon pie for my birthday. I lined up all the ingredients on the counter and began to work. The first pie was soupy and sloshed in the crust when I pulled it out. The second pie began to burn even before it was cooked through.I made lemon pie over and over, observing every little thing she scratched out and recalculated. By the time my husband got home from work, the kitchen was a minefield of defective pies. It looked as if each and every ingredient had abused me. I lost control when I saw the look on his face.“What happened here?” he asked.“I just want lemon pie for my birthday!”“I will buy you a lemon pie.”He didn’t understand. I left the kitchen and ran upstairs with a dusting of flour trailing behind me.I went to bed that night with the feeling of defeat. Why did my mother have to send me that recipe? I drifted off to sleep with pieces of crust still in my hair and lemon scent on my hands.My dreams were filled with memories of my grandmother and that pie. I kept trying to see what she was putting in it but she hid it behind her back. “Please tell me what is in that pie,” I begged. She smiled as the dream dissipated.I trudged to the kitchen the next morning and all the pies had been carted out to the garbage. The counters were spotless. It was as if the pie incident had never happened.The next day would be my birthday and all I wanted was lemon pie. I pulled the ingredients back out of the cupboard. “I can do this,” I whispered to myself. There are two things I pride myself on. First, I am the best baker in my circle of friends. Second, I don’t give up.I started mixing the ingredients and when I got to the cornstarch I couldn’t scrape enough out of the box for the pie. Doubt was creeping into my thoughts. “I can do this. I can do this,” I repeated to myself as I grabbed my car keys.I stood in the aisle looking at the multiple brands of cornstarch. What was I doing? I felt like I was having a mini meltdown over a pie. I pulled a box off the shelf and rolled it around in my hands as I walked to the register. My eyes settled on the recipes on the back. Lemon pie. Maybe I should use this recipe. I looked closer. It couldn’t be.I rushed home to view the precious index card sitting on my counter. I scanned the ingredients as I looked from card to box and back to the card again. Impossible! Was it this easy? I could see my grandmother smiling as I figured out her secret recipe. It seems it wasn’t a secret to anyone who had bought this brand of cornstarch.For my birthday, I made not one but two lemon pies. I was so pleased with myself as everyone inhaled the pie and dished out the compliments. Now I have a famous lemon pie recipe, but I’m not sharing!~Helen R. Zanone
• 1 15 oz. can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) • 2 tablespoons olive oil, separated • 4 cups chopped fresh kale stems removed • 1 tablespoon lemon juice • salt and pepper • 4 cups chopped Romaine lettuce • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese • Caesar salad dressing
Drain and rinse chickpeas. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. Add chickpeas to the skillet and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Roast the chickpeas until golden brown, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Remove from heat and set aside. Step 2
Place the kale, olive oil and lemon juice, and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl. Massage the kale with your hands to soften. Step 3
In a large salad bowl, combine the kale, romaine lettuce, cheese, and desired amount of caesar dressing. Top with crispy chickpeas and serve.
• 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled • 3 bunches of fresh broccoli, chopped • 1 red onion, sliced • 1 cup Craisins or raisins • 1 cup cashews • 1 cup mayonnaise • 1/2 cup sugar • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
To prepare the dressing, whisk mayonnaise, sugar, and cider vinegar together in a small bowl. Set aside. Step 2
Place the chopped broccoli in a large salad bowl. Toss in onion, raisins, and cashews. Step 3
Pour dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Add the bacon bits and toss again. Serve immediately or later at room temperature.
One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head. She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, “Why are some of your hairs white, Mom?” Her mother replied, “Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white.” The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said, “Momma, how come ALL of grandma’s hairs are white?”
When I was a child, my grandparents had a lake place in Holly, Michigan. It was called Tipsicoe Lake. Weekends we would drive the hour and a half from Detroit to spend two days, fishing and swimming in summer.Grandpa had a big motor boat. He never used the steering wheel on the boat, instead, he preferred to “drive” by maneuvering the motor. It was a big motor. Grandma was always afraid of it, so when she and I and my brother went fishing, we always had to row out to the spot she wanted to fish at on the given day.One weekend, we were at the lake when my dad wanted to take my brother and me for a boat ride. I was ten that year, and my brother was almost seven. We both knew that the cushions in the boat also served as life preservers if we should ever fall into the lake. Luckily, that never happened, but something else did.Grandpa had walked down to the lake from his house to watch us push off into deeper water. My dad started the motor, and off we went. I always loved to sit in the boat, the wind blowing my hair, and the beauty of watching the shoreline get smaller and smaller? Until that day, I mean.We went all around the lake, waving at lake residents, who knew us. We saw other kids in boats with their parents, also. Finally, dad said it was time to get back to our end of the lake.There we were, flying, the wind swishing my hair across my face, and my brother yelling, “Faster, Dad, faster!” As we were getting closer to where we had shoved off, and where my grandpa was still standing, I watched grandpa wave and Dad waved back. But grandpa was waving wildly, unlike his usual wave he always gave us when we were heading for the shoreline. Dad never slowed down. I saw grandpa getting bigger and bigger as we got closer and closer, and I wondered when dad was going to slow the motor down. Finally he did, just a little too late?Grandpa was waving crazily, and we were heading at him very fast. When dad cut the motor, we were too close to shore. That boat flew out of the water, and grandpa ran for the big tree nearby. The boat struck the tree, and I flew out of the boat on one side, and my brother flew out on the other side. Dad somehow stayed inside the boat.I ended up by the tree where grandpa was standing. The long “ditch” made by the motor was something. So were my front teeth. My brother was OK, he had hit the ground and gotten roughed up a little, but I hit my face on the tree. Blood was streaming down my chin, and my teeth hurt like crazy. Dad got the motor stopped and ran to me, as did grandpa.I was OK, just a couple of teeth were loose. But to tell you the truth, I never wanted to go out in the boat again with my dad steering. I’d go with my grandpa, but that was it. Or I’d go fishing with grandma.As long as I live, I will never forget my grandpa that day, standing on the shore and waving madly.
An oxymoron-sounding name, but a real Taiwanese classic: Frozen Baked Sweet Potatoes. These are baked to caramel-sweet perfection, then frozen to achieve an almost popsicle-like texture.
4 sweet potatoes (300 – 400g each)
Choosing Sweet Potatoes. Different varieties of sweet potato contain different amounts of sugar content; for this recipe, I recommend using Taiwanese (orange flesh) or Japanese / Korean sweet potatoes (yellow flesh). Sugar content is pivotal so do not use starchy varieties like the Okinawan sweet potato (purple flesh). The ideal shape will be long, slender sweet potatoes that are not too round or too big. They also should not be sprouting, as that will drastically reduce sugar content.
Bake the Sweet Potatoes. Preheat the oven to 230 C (450 F) with convection on, if available. Brush and wash the sweet potatoes very well, then dry completely. Note: Make sure to clean the sweet potatoes very well, especially if you’re planning to eat the skin (which I highly recommend!). Place sweet potatoes directly on the oven rack and let bake. The baking process will take 40-60 minutes, depending on the size and shape of your sweet potatoes. The way to tell when they’re done is by poking & tapping the skin: it should feel hardened and almost completely separate from the flesh, creating a hollow sound. The room should smell distinctly of dark caramel. Once the sweet potatoes are at your desired doneness, take them out of the oven and let them rest on a wire rack. Note: you can enjoy some hot and freeze the rest.
Freeze the Sweet Potato.Once the sweet potatoes have cooled completely, pack them in a freezer-safe bag and freeze for about 4 hours. This will get you the perfect ice cream like texture. Note: Letting the baked sweet potatoes cool completely prevents condensation in the freezer bags. Alternatively, you can flash freeze them uncovered without cooling, then pack them in bags later. If freezing overnight, let the sweet potatoes thaw for about 10 minutes at room temperature before enjoying. Alternatively, microwave the sweet potato for about 30 seconds. Eat it while cold!