Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Crappy cookware and collapsed cookbooks

They say lots of strong memories can be associated with our senses of smell and  taste.

When those memories link you back to someone who is no longer with you and to fantastic childhood memories the remembrance can be bitter sweet.

My husband slipped out the door to work today, head down and told off.

You see, for years he has been after me to get a new electric range.  Of course I find this intriguing because I do all the cooking.  What is he telling me here?

So I have had it about 30 years now, a gift from my parents.  An Eaton's Viking at that.
Two of the four burners don't work and the oven runs hot.  No matter.  I know how to cook on it and bake in it.  Actually have done it for years.

But several weeks ago I broke down.  It was Boxing Week and the bargains were in the air.  I must admit, when I have guests over especially at holiday times it does get a bit tricky functioning with two burners.

So we tooted off to Hamilton and bought a new range, yet to be delivered.  I'm okay with it.  I can let go of the past....to some degree.

But last night we pulled out the old stove and cleaned the dust bunnies and crud out from under it, in preparation for the arrival of the shiny new model.

My husband was all fired up with this progression forward.  So before heading off to work this morning he announced we were going out shopping to get a new set of pots to replace my "crappy" ones I've used for years.  I'm not real good when he makes pronouncements like this, especially when it runs into my territory.  Did I mention I do all the cooking?

The pots also are pretty special to me.  Some were my grandma's.  Some were my mom's and some were gifts from my mom.

I'm not really big on having new things.  And I am especially not big on having new things to replace those things that hold such strong memories for me.  I remember both my mom and grandma using these pots to make certain dishes that were sort of family classics.

Sorry, husband.  I love you, but no new pots for me!

My mom has been gone for a few years now, and I have boxes of things from her home that I haven't been strong enough to go through yet.  But one thing I did pull out was her "Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook", 1943 edition.

I like thumbing through it and seeing her neat schoolteacher handwritten notes and familiar recipes.
My puppy decided to pull it off the counter one day, so it is not in the best condition anymore, but she had the good sense to tear the pages off the binder, leaving the pages themselves intact.
I have to keep it in a bag to keep it all together.

But sometimes I like to pull it out and cook in those old pots. Something I can picture my mom cooking.
I'm glad for the memories, the tastes and the smells.

Got an old pot you like to use?

I used to like these squares my mom made from her book. This one was on a newspaper clipping, from The Hamilton Spectator most likely.  Perhaps from the column of great Norma Bidwell, but I am not sure.

Saucepan Gumdrop Squares
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp water
1 cup sifted cake and pastry flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup spicy gumdrops, finely cut

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  grease a 9 inch square pan

In a saucepan melt butter.  Remove from heat.  Add sugars and water, blending well.  Stir in sifted flour and baking powder.  Add vanilla and egg.  Beat well, stir in gumdrops.  Pour into prepared pan.
Bake in moderate oven for 25-30 mins.  Do not over bake.  Cool in pan and top with peppermint icing.

Peppermint Icing
1 tbsp butter
1 cup sifted icing sugar
1 tbsp warm milk
peppermint flavouring
Mix icing ingredients, adding enough milk to make icing spread easily.  Add one-two drops flavouring, and spread on cool cake.



Brewer said...

I have a cast iron frying pan that was my Mom's and probably my Grandmother's before that. It's far better than these modern so called "non-stick" pans. And I have a round casserole dish that was my Mom's too. I like to cook some of her recipes in it.

Buttons said...

I understand this attachment to pots ovens and cookbooks. The memories. I have the same problem. I have my Grandmother's handwritten recipes, her cook book and two of her roast pans.I love them and no one can tell me to get rid of them.
I gave up my 30 yr. old oven two years ago I wished I fixed it this newer one sucks. I wrote a post on my blog about it. Good luck with hubby. He will get it someday.

Linda said...

Thanks for reading. I've got my mom's cast iron pots too-and i agree with you. And I think my hubby gets it-he's lived with me long enough now!

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