Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dish Replay - - In Grandma's Kitchen

It's my turn to blog today but between crazy hours at my retail job and being out of town for a few days...well, the words just wouldn't come.  So instead of a new blog, I thought I'd share one of my favorites from the first year we opened the cyber doors here at The Romance Dish.  Walk with me down memory lane as I share thoughts from my grandma's kitchen.


Some of my earliest memories are of being perched on a stool at my grandma's kitchen counter, hanging onto her every word as she taught me how to wield a rolling pin, create flaky melt-in-your-mouth biscuits or golden brown, perfectly baked cookies. Much of what I know about baking was learned at my grandma's side but baking wasn't the only thing I learned in her kitchen. Sprinkled so lightly among the various techniques that I was hardly aware of them, were gentle lessons that have guided my life over the past 50+ years. From that wise and kind woman I learned to find joy in creating something with my own hands and mind, to take pride in my accomplishments but not be boastful about them, to share willingly and joyfully with others, to have compassion for those lacking the skills or resources with which I was blessed, to treat others with the same kindness and respect that I wish to receive from them and to honor those who have gone before me by sharing my love, my time, my knowledge and a few gentle life lessons with the young people in my life.
Grandma has been with the angels for many years now but, to this day, I can still feel her gentle hand on my shoulder, guiding me in the right direction. A few years ago I was visiting with some cousins that I hadn't seen in almost 30 years. One of them said to me, "You're so much like Grandma it's almost like having her with us again." I can think of no greater compliment.

1 cup solid Crisco shortening
2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. lemon extract
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
dash of salt

Cream shortening. Add 1-1/2 cups sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs and flavorings; beat well. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into creamed mixture. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls 2-3 inches apart onto greased cookie sheets. Dip a fork into flour then lightly press on each cookie to flatten. Sprinkle cookie with remaining sugar. Bake at 375° F. for 9 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

YIELD: 9 dozen

** For a festive appearance, sprinkle cookies with colored sugar before baking.
PS:  It's the lemon extract that makes these cookies special!

Are you a baker?  Who was your teacher? Did they sprinkle lessons of how to make cookies, cakes and pies with life lessons too?  Are you passing the lessons on to the younger folks in your life?



  1. I cook all the time and do some baking. The main reason I hate to bake is because I eat it when I bake and I don't need it. Trying to loose weight but can't if I bake. This time of the year I make candy and I think that worse.

  2. I love to bake - mainly because my mother cannot (of course, we never really knew she couldn't really bake and thought all two-layer cakes in the world were 2" high and sagging in the middle, cookies that always came from packages...) Then I discovered cookbooks and PBS (way back when all days on Sundays seemed to be cooking shows of Julia Childs and others). I did make sure that both my boys learned at an early age how to make basic food items, and now that they are in their 20s, they actually do "bake"...good thing as neither has a girlfriend who can make a dinner without opening a frozen dinner packet and inserting in the microwave...

  3. Virginia, I know what you mean! I give mine away as fast as I can because it all calls my name! lol!

  4. Dtchycat, good for you on teaching your boys their way around the kitchen! I taught my youngest brother how to bake and my late dh taught him how to cook. He was only four when we married and spent a lot of his growing up years with us. His co-workers love him as he's always bringing in homemade goodies.

  5. I think that is so cool that you ladies taught the men in your life to bake and cook. My daughter's husband does most of the cooking at their house, he gets a little radical for me but if someone else cooks it I'll eat it! I had been making sausage balls for work and home for the season and my BF had a dinner at work for Christmas, he got all inspired and made some. He said "didn't you think it strange I was hanging in the kitchen when you were making them?" Uh, no dear, I thought you were just waiting to filch one when I wasn't looking.

  6. I love to bake. I baked with both of my grandmothers and with my mother. They weren't around when my children came. It is a shame they missed out on that. I always had them help with cooking and they all are good cooks, boys and girls. Now I get to have the grandchildren come over and share the experience with them.

  7. i don't like cooking ;(, maybe because i'm impatient when cook but my mom is so expert ;)

  8. My Mother always had a baking day each week, she still does, so that was our time to have some fun in the kitchen together.

  9. It's so nice to take a trip down memory lane with you, PJ. I did not get to know my grandmothers due to very tragic circumstances, so I love hearing other peoples memories of their grandmothers.

    Sugar Cookies are my favorite; when I make them now I'll have a wonderful memory to attach to them.