food, Recipes

sweetness . . .

My mom loved to bake.

Cookies, cakes, biscuits, brownies, sweet breads and squares were all goodies that we “had on hand” for morning coffee, afternoon tea or an evening snack. They were never counted as dessert.

Desserts were puddings, cobblers, pies, or a special creation like rhubarb torte, pineapple upside down cake or maybe gingerbread with whipped cream.

And we had dessert for every supper. The meal was never complete until we had something sweet. If Mom didn’t have a home-baked dessert ready, then ice-cream would do, but only in a pinch.

I was the only one of the three girls who inherited my mom’s love of baking. I remember sitting on the stool by the stove, regaling Mom with all my school stories and watching as she stirred the batter in her big yellow mixing bowl or lifted the cookies onto the cooling racks. She always wore a pretty apron when she baked. There was sure to be a spatula to lick or a bowl to scrape after the mixing was done.

As I grew a little older, the Saturday baking became my chore. My brother was a great encourager and always ate everything I baked – even though some of the results were less than successful. One batch of cookies that I made were so hard that even my brother was challenged. I was gratified that he took them to school in his lunch though. It was only later that I learned he was having contests with his friends – seeing how many times they could throw them at the ceiling before they broke.

Despite a few such mishaps, I still love to bake.

Although we don’t have dessert with every meal, the cookie jar is  always full and every family celebration includes a special sweet creation.

I not only inherited a penchant for baking but also a love of cookbooks, cooking magazines and especially food in literature whether it is a description like the sumptuous breakfasts in Farmer Boy or my latest acquisition from the library,

On%20Rue%20Tatin.jpg
On Rue Tatin: Living and Cooking In A French Town  by Susan Herrmann Loomis – the reviews are mixed but I am enjoying her description of life and cooking in rural France.

And of course…

let’s not forget to mention food on the web

it is endless!

My new favourite?

Mennonite Girls Can Cook by Lovella and friends! This site came just in time for me as my “More With Less” Mennonite cookbook is falling to pieces.

What about you? Do you like to read about food?

What is your favourite cookbook? Recipe website? or food description in literature?

Don’t worry girls…the calories don’t count when you are only reading about it.

*grin*

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20 thoughts on “sweetness . . .

  1. Ah the sweet memory of your mom. . . I love these posts and the post you had today as well.(thursday). .. yes looking at old pictures does it to me every time,. I’m just a wee bit sentimental. Oh and thank you so much for the plug for the MGCC blog.

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  2. Violet – I am going to see if I can find that book Simply In Season. I like that concept and try to follow it as much as possible – it makes for better tasting food.Jody – I was able to request a Christmas book by Susan Branch at my library – I’m looking forward to browsing through it.I’ll check out the website and keep on the lookout for the other books. I may be able to get them through interlibrary loan.Jill I have a 3 ring binder from Better Homes and Gardens too – it was my mom’s. It’s probably a much older one than yours. It has a gold cover. A good basic cookbook. Wouldn’t I love to drop over to your house have a visit, give Victor a hug and have a little piece of that applesauce cake. Mm mmm!Valerie – we’re having some great weather this week.Does your sister like to swim? I was swimming yesterday on the south shore – it was beautiful!! I’m going to take a thermometer down so I can take the temp of the water – I’m sure it was mid-70’s which is unusually warm for June. The north shore is cold I’m sure. It takes longer to warm up. I hope she enjoys her time here. If she’s an Anne fan she will have LOTS to do!!Jeanne – Babette’s Feast is one of my all time favourite movies- it is so funny! Especially when they are drinking the wine at the feast. Lorna – summer is a good time to eat healthy – there is so much lovely produce around and it tastes so delicious. We are anticipating our strawberries in a few days – PEI strawberries are heavenly – I’m sure there is no other description that would do. And best of all, there are very few calories in them… unless you count the shortcake and the whipped cream that goes with them 🙂 sorry….

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  3. are virtual calories fattening.I just started a diet. When I was in the UK on holiday I weighed myself using stones and pounds and was not impressed. Time to shift a few or more. I used to love cooking (not baking so much as I don’t have much of a sweet tooth) and am searching the shelves now for old recipe books for delicious lessfattening alternatives. I’ve become so boring.

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  4. I would rather bake than cook, but unfortunately cooking’s mandatory, baking’s optional, so I don’t do much of it!My favorite food-related "literature," if you will can count a movie, is Babette’s Feast. ALMOST makes me want to take some gourmet cooking classes. In another lifetime, maybe!~Jeanne

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  5. One more thing – I’m a bit jealous of my sister who will be heading to your island from CT in a week for a family vacation. I forget where she’s staying at the moment but this is their second trip back since they enjoyed it so much the first time.

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  6. I seem to use Google for recipes of late, but in my cookbook collection, I have enjoyed Susan Branch’s books and Shelly Reeves Smith’s books. Great art and fun to look at. I enjoyed your entry about your mom, too. Makes me think of my mom and her love of baking, too.

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  7. Oh, what a *sweet* post! As I type this, I have an applesauce cake in the oven. I love to bake, too.My favorite cookbook is an old favorite in my family–the Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book in a red plaid three-ring binder. It has helped me tremendously in my culinary pursuits, especially in the basics of how to make mashed potatoes and how to scramble eggs. I also have a cookbook from the 100th anniversary celebration of a church we used to attend–it’s one of those community compilations with timeless recipes. Like the applesauce cake.XO

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  8. P.S. I can’t resist the food descriptions in Mother’s kitchen in the book, Farmer Boy.Oh, one more book you may like too: Joie de Vivre: Simple French Style for Everyday Living by Robert Arbor.Jody

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  9. Kathie,I love what you wrote here about your mom. My mom was a great baker too and we always enjoyed a full cookie jar. I inherited her sweet tooth and love of baking.I really enjoy cookbooks too. The old community cookbooks are really a favorite of mine — always some high calorie desserts and pies to bring to potluck.I like Karey Swan’s cookbook: Hearth and Home because she tells lots of stories about her family, her kitchen and why the recipes are meaningful to her. She also gives tips on healthy foods and how to stock a pantry. I adore any of Susan Branch’s cookbooks. Who can resist her drawings, paintings, quotes, and the recipes written with her own hand? Probably my favorite book of hers is Autumn in the Heart of Home. I have the Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog in my favorites and I LOVE it! Another favorite is Simple Recipes: http://www.elise.com. Elise shares favorite family recipes, lots of really good, stick-to-your-ribs foods as well as interesting exotic (according to my standards) foods.Sorry to go on and on. I love food and cookbooks.Jody

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  10. I was the baker in my family too. It sure beat weeding the garden!A favorite new cookbook is ‘Simply In Season.’ It’s beautiful, encourages a similar simple living and thrift ethic as the ‘More With Less’ cookbook and is also Mennonite (my background too – good food!). You can buy it at MCC stores (like 10,000 Villages) and probably also online.

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  11. Islandsparrow says:

    Hey Lorna!! A special welcome to my sister-in-law. I think that is probably her first blog comment ever! Am I right? Now you have to start a blog of your own… :)Ellen – I’m the same way with cooking magazines. I have all my old copies of Taste of Home and Country Woman. They have wonderful recipes. I’ve enjoyed The Barefoot Contessa on TV and also Paula Deen – she is a riot!

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  12. some of my favorite cookbooks are Simply Classic – The junior league of Seattle, All of Barefoot Contessa’s cookbooks. I’ve had good success with every one of her recipes I’ve tried. I also always like to have a basic around like Fannie Farmers. I love food magazines – I’ve started buying them at the Friends of the library for 25 cents instead of paying full price. The issues are a little older but I still get the same fix in looking through them :0)

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  13. Lorna says:

    You’ve had ALOT of practice baking for a crowd – and the results are excellent. I’m anxious to try that cooking website. Have a wonderful day.

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  14. Oh, what a *sweet* post! As I type this, I have an applesauce cake in the oven. I love to bake, too.My favorite cookbook is an old favorite in my family–the Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book in a red plaid three-ring binder. It has helped me tremendously in my culinary pursuits, especially in the basics of how to make mashed potatoes and how to scramble eggs. I also have a cookbook from the 100th anniversary celebration of a church we used to attend–it’s one of those community compilations with timeless recipes. Like the applesauce cake.XO

    Like

  15. P.S. I can’t resist the food descriptions in Mother’s kitchen in the book, Farmer Boy.Oh, one more book you may like too: Joie de Vivre: Simple French Style for Everyday Living by Robert Arbor.Jody

    Like

  16. Kathie,I love what you wrote here about your mom. My mom was a great baker too and we always enjoyed a full cookie jar. I inherited her sweet tooth and love of baking.I really enjoy cookbooks too. The old community cookbooks are really a favorite of mine — always some high calorie desserts and pies to bring to potluck.I like Karey Swan’s cookbook: Hearth and Home because she tells lots of stories about her family, her kitchen and why the recipes are meaningful to her. She also gives tips on healthy foods and how to stock a pantry. I adore any of Susan Branch’s cookbooks. Who can resist her drawings, paintings, quotes, and the recipes written with her own hand? Probably my favorite book of hers is Autumn in the Heart of Home. I have the Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog in my favorites and I LOVE it! Another favorite is Simple Recipes: http://www.elise.com. Elise shares favorite family recipes, lots of really good, stick-to-your-ribs foods as well as interesting exotic (according to my standards) foods.Sorry to go on and on. I love food and cookbooks.Jody

    Like

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