Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Nanny

I'd like to take a moment and share with you a snapshot of my beautiful grandmother,
Edith Rose.
"Nanny" to me and the rest of the grandkids.
(I love the flower in her hair)

Many of the homemaking skills that I know have come from her. In fact, at the beginning of my married life adventure, I would find myself double checking my work and thinking,
"Would Nanny approve?"

She was a strong woman who raised and cared for her 4 children the best she knew how. She came from meager beginnings, but her faith carried her through all of the challenges in her life. So much of what I know about life and cooking came from watching her, and most of the time I wasn't even realizing the wisdom that I was absorbing.

Her kitchen was intended to be the heart of her home and the heartbeat definitely came from her. The layout was meticulously thought through and designed to suit her needs perfectly. To this day, I long for her counter and cabinet space! There was a large peninsula that housed a double sink, and also was large enough that we grandchildren could all sit around it and eat. I can't help but imagine the thought that went into this one area. It was an ingenious plan to keep all of us little ones at arms reach and under her wing.

My fondest memories of her are the simple ones. I can remember every step she took to wash her dishes. The suds from the detergent filling up her cloth as she would wash and rinse each dish by hand, and THEN put them in the dishwasher.

While she did the dishes, she would talk about the day's events and tell stories of the past. Then came my favorite part! It was when she would clean out the sink. With a soapy cloth in hand, she would wipe every handle, faucet, seam and basin. It was like a sudsy ballet as the bubbles formed all over, just as she intended. Then came the rinsing. It wasn't rushed. It was all part of her thoroughness and care for her home. You knew when the story she was telling was important to her (or more like, she realized she had a captive audience), because the bubbly bath would begin again. I always knew that when she dried the counter and sink the story was coming to an end. It was her time and way of passing on wisdom, and I would be so thankful for just one more moment sitting there with her. I still have so many things to learn.

My Nanny is with the Lord now, and as I write this my heart aches because I miss her terribly. But, I know that one way to honor her memory is to take the homemaking skills she passed down to me, and pass them down to my children.

Oh Momma, could my Nanny cook!
This woman had some mad kitchen skills!

Nothing was spared and only the best was served. Occasionally I would I see her pull out a cookbook, but mostly the family recipes just seemed to flow out of her! We all had our favorites like pork chops, fried chicken (ya knows me and ma chicken), homemade biscuits and gravy, and desserts Desserts DESSERTS. All had been mastered.

I came across Grandma's Wartime Baking Book by Joanne Lamb Hayes at the library. It has become one of my favorite cookbooks.
In fact, I've checked it out about 3 times in the last six months.
(It's on my Christmas List!)

It's full of WWII recipes that were published in variety of cookbooks and magazines at that time.
Whenever I flip through these pages I can't help but think of Nanny and the women like her who had to learn these skills out of necessity.

I can't imagine what it would be like to have sugar rationed
or not even to be able to purchase butter.
But that's just what they did!
That great American ingenuity kicked in and they figured out how to make more with less.

I rarely "read" a cookbook, but this one is full of tidbits and stories of this time period. Each recipe has an explanation of where it came from and why it was altered to meet rationing needs. Many are sugarless desserts and can easily be thrown together with very basic ingredients.

This week I gave the Sticky Buns In A Hurry a go. I added raisins and a little glaze on top.
They were a hit with the kids and Mr. D really enjoyed the one left for him.

Here is the recipe!
Click on the picture and it will enlarge.
I made the measurements bold so that you were sure to see them.

My mother recently has let me borrow my Nanny's cookbooks, and I'll be sharing more of these wonderful recipes with ya'll soon.


Tete said...

I have had many women in my life like your Nanny, from mother to grandmothers and to great aunts...they all came from the same time when they had to make do. And the stories they could tell...
Wonderful post and I'm sure she is looking over your shoulder to make sure you're doing it right.
Hugs- Tete

laylablue said...

thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings about your "nanny"
sniffle sniffle

once i get my brain untangled (we'll have to talk on the phone about that) i still want to do our guest-posting for our blogs.

Jayme, The Coop Keeper said...

Sigh. Your post made me all kinds of happy. All kinds. I can't wait to meet you (and your Nanny - you can introduce me later - you know). Homemaking just warms my heart right up. There is nothing like a woman in the kitchen, loving up on her family. I know that may sounds chauvinistic, but it's my opinion, and I'm stickin' to it. Great blog post!


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