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Posts Tagged ‘passing down family recipes’

Taco Soup

Taco Soup, BlackBerry Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2010, photo © 2010 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Family Recipes

Family Recipes, BlackBerry Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2010, photo © 2010 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.




Simple Taco Soup


1 lb. lean ground beef
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can Mexican chili beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can kidney beans
1 large can petite diced tomatoes
1 package taco seasoning mix


Brown ground beef and stir in the taco seasoning. Add canned veggies and simmer until flavors are blended — about 20 minutes. Ladle into bowls and top with your choice of cheese, sour cream, cilantro, or tortilla chips.




Top With Your Choice

Top With Your Choice, BlackBerry Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2010, photo © 2010 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Comfort Food - Taco Soup

Comfort Food - Taco Soup, BlackBerry Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2010, photo © 2010 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Sometimes it’s a gift to be a product of a blended family. There are different sets of parents, plumes of siblings, cousins galore. When I was in Pennsylvania a few weeks ago visiting my brother after his liver transplant, part of my Southern family showed up on the doorstep and surprised me. After driving the 10 hours from South Carolina, they literally stepped right out of the front seat of their car and into my brother’s kitchen. They came bearing gifts for a celebration of Thanksgiving. It was the first time in 45 years the Robertson side of the family had been together.

Though I’m not much of a cook, I love easy-to-make meals. One of my favorite gifts was a spiral bound recipe book. Daddy and Judy had handwritten simple recipes they collected from different members of the family. And behind the pages of the recipe cards, they tucked vintage family snapshots.


Like this one:


April 1973

April 1973, Vintage Family Snapshot In Recipe Book, Morristown, Tennessee, photo © 2010 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


If you look closely, you might spot me there in Tennessee, in a half circle with my paternal grandparents, Ada and Jess, smirking behind that 70’s smile. So many memories.

Back in Minnesota, it’s a lot colder, and I’m a lot older. I pull the ground beef out of the freezer and open the handmade recipe book to Taco Soup. Since I’m late getting home, Liz starts dinner (if you are from the South, you might say “supper”), and I walk right into the middle smell of a family memory. The recipe book makes a creative Holiday gift. All you need are recipe cards, a fast writing pen, and a strong wrist. Food and family photos are a natural combination, a memory maker that keeps on giving.


-posted on red Ravine, with gratitude to my family, Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

-related to post: Memories, Writing, & Family Recipes

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By Lita Sandoval


Let’s just say that 2009 has not been my best year. I was laid off from my job in January. I accepted a position for another job soon after I was laid off and it turned out to be a terrible situation. I quit within three months. To add to the stress of finding a job, I got kidney stones twice, caught two teenage girls trying to steal my car from the driveway, and even had my garbage can stolen!

I am fortunate I have a temporary part-time job, which basically has saved my life. I make just enough money to pay bills and only have enough left over for a few extras. I’ve been thinking about how I am going to afford Christmas gifts for my family. I cut my list way back to gifts for immediate family only. My daughter also wants to give gifts to her friends—six of them.

I decided that I would make gifts for everyone. And I wanted my daughter to make gifts for her friends, too. Together we made jewelry for her friends. It was fun spending time together picking out beads and deciding which friends would like certain beads and colors. The whole idea of making gifts together was definitely cost effective, but what came out of that experience was a great bonding opportunity. It was also fun watching my daughter’s creativity explode. We can now check six people off the Christmas list!

My father helped me to decide on very special gifts I will be making for my sister, niece, and daughter. My father is always heavy on my mind during the holidays. He passed away seven years ago. The man was a fabulous cook. Family and friends still salivate when they talk about his amazing marinated steaks or his incredible paella. I thought it would be cool to gather all of his recipes, re-type them, put them in a beautiful box and give them to my sister, niece, and daughter for Christmas.

It has been an incredible experience going through those recipes! It was like going back through a time machine. I can look at a recipe and associate a special occasion with the meal my dad prepared. On many of his recipe cards, he wrote little notes that made me remember his wicked sense of humor. He named dishes after himself or altered the name of something that would incorporate his name.

Some of his notes were just cool, like the one on his paella recipe. He named it Paella Al Al. My dad’s name was Al and if you speak Spanish, you get the humor in the title. At the bottom of the recipe card it says:

Recipe from a restaurant at La Carihuela – a fishing village on the Mediterranean outside Torremolinos. 1984


While going through the recipes, I found one of my favorites: my dad’s Tequila Shrimp. I had never attempted to make this particular dish. I decided I would make the Tequila Shrimp and take it to a party I was invited to.

I used to love going to the grocery store with my dad and helping him find just the right ingredients for his meals. Going to the store and picking out ingredients for the shrimp dish with my dad’s very particular eye was important. I was excited to put it all together. I took out the special cazuela my dad gave me and took care to make sure the tequila shrimp not only tasted good, but looked good. I think I succeeded.

I hope my sister, niece, and daughter will think of my dad when they try out one of his famous dishes. It really is a wonderful legacy that he has left all of us. What better way is there to connect with family and friends than to sit around a table with a wonderful meal? And because I saw that my mom had her own little box of recipes, I’ve decided I must put hers in with my dad’s. Most of her best recipes aren’t written down, so we made a date to sit down and write them all out.

Needless to say, my stress of holiday gift giving has gone by the wayside. Jewelry has been made, recipes have been written out and precious time has been spent being with, thinking of and enjoying time with family. It seems as though my year has ended so much better than it started out.





Dad Grilling, photo of Al Sandoval (Lita’s father) grilling
steaks at home circa 1966, photo © 1966-2009
by Olga Sandoval. All rights reserved.







Tequila Shrimp

  • 2 lbs. cooked shrimp
  • 2 oz. Tequila
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 bay leaf broken up
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Dash black pepper
  • Garlic salt to taste

Mix well and add to shrimp. Coat well. Add:

  • 1 lemon and 1 lime thin sliced
  • 4 pearl onions thin sliced
  • 1 cup black olives sliced
  • 2 Tbs. chopped pimiento
  • 2 roasted, peeled, chopped green chilies

Marinade in refrigerator for at least three hours.






Lita Sandoval is a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is a local blogger (currently on hiatus) known as Adelita—she made the top five “Best Bloggers” in Albuquerque the Magazine’s Best of City 2009, and for the past two years she’s been in the top three bloggers in the Alibi‘s Best of Burque—who writes about the funky hometown she affectionately calls “Burque” (pronounced boor-keh, extra roll on the “r”). She’s also a jewelry artist (check out her work at her Etsy shop, although she warns that she hasn’t had time to add much to it lately but will in the new year) and collector of many unusual things. Her teenage daughter keeps her on her toes, as do her rowdy dogs, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Etta James. Her favorite saying is, “Oh sí liar!”

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Liz Really Liked It!, BlackBerry Shots, vintage recipe card, November 2009, all photos © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 
 

It’s almost Thanksgiving, a time of gratitude for our many blessings. And a time for good food. I walked over to the fridge this morning and under a Morton Salt “When it rains it pours” magnet was this faded recipe card for Chicken L’Orange. Liz’s mother (oliverowl) mailed it to us after a discussion on Memories, Writing & Family Recipes.

She told us that Liz’s maternal grandmother, Frances Oliver Biggs, loved that Liz liked the Chicken L’Orange. So much so, that she handwrote her comment on the back of the family recipe card she sent to Liz’s mom:

Does Liz remember the recipe for “Chicken L’Orange” that her Nana sent me? I still have the card in my recipe box. At the end is her comment, “Liz really liked it!” (Sent after Liz’s visit to CA.) It is probably similar to what you had on the Cornish game hens.

My contribution to yesterday’s meal was Grandma Caroline’s Green Salad (OLD family recipe) and a Cranberry Sauce that had orange juice and a whole jar of Orange Marmalade cooked with the fresh berries!

Now the recipe card with Liz’s grandmother’s handwriting hangs on our fridge. I told Liz I want to try Grandma Caroline’s Green Salad this year. It reminds me of my family’s version of Jell-O salad with whipped cream. Below is the recipe that Liz’s mom Marylin dropped into the red Ravine comments.

__________________________________________

 
 

Grandma Caroline’s Green Salad

 
 

1 large box of Lime Jell-O
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
1 14-15 oz. can crushed pineapple, including juice

 
 

Take the cream cheese out of the fridge, so it begins to soften. Prepare the Jell-O, using 1 less cup of water than the recipe calls for. Chill it until it begins to thicken, but don’t let it solidify, or you’ll have a mess!

Since I only have one mixer, I whip the cream and place it in a small bowl. Then I cut the cream cheese in small chunks and place them in the mixer bowl and beat it well. When the Jell-O is a thick syrupy consistency, I add it to the cream cheese and mix until they are homogenized! (You’ll have to scrape down the sides of the bowl several times.) Next, the pineapple is mixed in and then the whipped cream, both at the slowest speed. Refrigerate until firm. Enjoy!

_____________________________________

 
 

We’re going to stop at the store today for last minute ingredients. What traditional recipes will you be sharing this Thanksgiving week? Are there any that have been passed down by your grandmother? Bob mentioned he’s making Aunt Annie’s Scalloped Oysters. ybonesy’s family always makes tamales for Christmas. And my family makes Southern Banana Pudding for almost every family gathering. Old recipes are invaluable to memoir writers. Family flavor.

Hope you enjoy Grandma Caroline’s Green Salad. And if you put together the two front and back photos of the recipe card in this post, you’ll have the Biggs family recipe for Chicken L’Orange — two great family recipes, one post. And any leftover turkey? Try Amelia’s Soft Dumpling Recipe.

 
 

Chicken L’Orange, When It Rains, It Pours,  BlackBerry Shots, vintage recipe card, November 2009, all photos © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 
 

Post Script: The Morton Salt girl has always been a favorite icon of mine. She’s officially called the Morton Umbrella Girl and according to the Morton website, the slogan, “When it rains it pours” first appeared on the blue package of table salt and in a series of Good Housekeeping magazine advertisements in 1914. The slogan is adapted from an old proverb, “It never rains but it pours.”

You can read more about the history of Morton Salt, view vintage ads, and see the transition of the Morton Umbrella Girl from the roaring twenties to the 1968 image that we still view on packaging today. They’ve also got a recipe section with Winning Kosher Salt Recipes.

 

-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

-related to post: Reflections On The Other National Bird*

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Scratch Biscuits & Tea, Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 2007, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. 

Scratch Biscuits & Tea, Aunt Cassie’s antique teapot, Central Pennsylvania, November 2007, all photos © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



Last November when I went home for Mom’s 70th birthday, she made Southern scratch biscuits. I’m heading home again next week, and I’ve been chatting with her on the phone, comparing notes on ancestral roots, drooling over all that good Southern cookin’ that lies in store. Hmmmmm. I hope the boiled peanuts at those little Georgia roadside stands are in season. And Liz wants to try the catfish stew.

As a precursor, I decided to post another family recipe, the nuts and bolts of Mom’s Southern scratch biscuits. Since I reconnected with my paternal aunts last summer (who had not seen me since I was about two), I’ve been trying to gather more tidbits from that side of the family. Mom told me she learned to bake scratch biscuits from my paternal grandmother, Estelle.

After I was born, Mom, then 16, and my father (17) lived with Estelle for a short time. Estelle taught her the secrets of buttermilk and lard, and the nuances of rolling out the dough, and flattening with the knuckles. Hand to hand to hand. It was all passed down.

Eventually, biscuit dough was manufactured and spit into a tube and many women stopped making scratch biscuits. Ever wonder when the canned refrigerator biscuit was invented? One source calls it — the path from accidental mess to Pillsbury DoughboyLively Willoughboy of Louisville, Kentucky invented refrigerator dough packed in cardboard tubes in 1930, with a patent issued in 1931. The product was acquired by Ballard & Ballard of Louisville which was acquired by Pillsbury Mills in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1951.

But let’s not think about that right now! This is our Southern scratch biscuit recipe, the way Amelia learned to make biscuits from my Grandmother Estelle. I left Mom’s notes in, just the way she wrote them. The secret’s in the simplicity. It is basic and as close to home as you can get.



 
Amelia's Antique Sifter, Central Pennsylvania, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. 

Two Cups, One Cup, Central Pennsylvania, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



 

Southern Scratch Biscuits


2 cups self-rising flour
1/4 cup lard or shortening (I use Crisco)
1 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have, use sour milk)


Tip:
If you don’t have sour milk, put 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar and enough whole milk to make 1 cup, and let stand 5 minutes before using. Or 1 cup whole milk plus 1 3/4 teaspoons cream of tartar (or 1 cup sour cream).


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Put the flour in a bowl. With your fingertips, work the shortening into the flour until well blended and evenly mixed. Pour in the buttermilk and mix until a dough is formed. Roll out the dough to about 1/2-inch thickness on a floured board: cut with a 2-inch biscuit cutter or pluck off balls, roll, and flatten them with your knuckles. (I have used a glass as a cutter.)


Bake on a greased baking sheet for 10 to 12 minutes, or until brown. Makes 10 to 12 biscuits.


Tip:
When rolling out, do it on a floured board and use a floured rolling pin. If you don’t have a rolling pin, use a smooth glass. You can always find ways to make do. I have. When you make biscuits all the time, you can go by the way it feels. I kept a mixing bowl with flour in it and just took a little shortening with my fingers and mixed with the flour until it felt like the right consistency. But until then use the recipe!


Now I’m hungry for homemade biscuits so I guess I’ll have to go make some.

Love Ya,
Happy cooking,
MOM



Cookie Sheet Close-Up, Central Pennsylvania, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. 

       Made In USA, Central Pennsylvania, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



 
For a real treat, check out The Rise of the Southern Biscuit by Maryann Byrd. Liz and I watched the PBS documentary last winter and came away so hungry, we had to run out to Cracker Barrel (the closest thing we have to a Southern restaurant in the Far North) for a fix of biscuits and sweet tea. You’ll learn all about the roots of the Southern biscuit tradition, from Beaten Biscuits (the first Southern biscuit) to the biscuit brake

And if your local station doesn’t have the show in its immediate lineup, you can e-mail the Documentary Channel and request that they air it. Oh, by the way, Mom mentioned using a smooth glass to roll out the dough; at the last link, there’s a photograph of Miss Daisy King’s Angel biscuits and her mother’s glass rolling pin that she inherited when she was six years old. This documentary will make your mouth water. Don’t forget the popcorn with lots of real butter!

 

 

Aunt Cassie's Teapot, Central Pennsylvania, photo © 2007-2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

 

-posted on red Ravine, Monday, July 7th, 2008

-related to posts:

Memories, Writing, & Family Recipes

Leftover Turkey? Try Amelia’s Soft Dumpling Recipe

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Bakers Dozen, baking Christmas rocks, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Pinwheels & Rocks, baking Christmas rocks, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Baking rocks for the Holidays is a tradition in our family. The name “Rocks” sounds kind of iffy. But trust me, they are delicious.

Liz had never had them before. I turned off the computer, turned up the Christmas music, and convinced her to bake up a batch to take to Solstice. I was the right-hand cook, chopping dates, locating the buried hand mixer, digging out the muffin tins, stealing tasty swipes of raw batter while Liz rolled together the ingredients.

Mom sent me the recipe a few weeks ago, adding all the little tips and tidbits Aunt Cassie passed down to her. Recipes weren’t written down in the past. They were passed from mother to daughter by story and word of mouth. (When I called to ask my sister the baking time for smaller muffin tins, she was making Rocks, too! And was only a few steps behind Liz in the mixing.) Now recipes are passed on to fathers and sons. My brothers are as apt to bake as I am.

I searched high and low for the history of Rocks. I came up empty. They seem similar to the Rock Cakes that originated in England (and are featured in one of the Harry Potter books). The batter has some of the same ingredients. But, no, they’re not Rock Cakes.

Rocks are not cupcakes, cookies, or cake. They aren’t fruit cake either. They seem to be a variation of all of these recipes. I am sure they are Southern. But when I was surprised by a call from my Aunt Annette in South Carolina this morning, and told her I was making Rocks, she said, “What, Honey? Rocks?” She had never heard of Rocks in her family. That caused me to scratch my head since I thought they were well known and widespread across the South.

If anyone knows the history of Rocks, please feel free to chime in in the comments. Meantime, I’ll keep my eyes open and continue to research as I write my memoir.

There was another little surprise today. While I was working on this post tonight and watching the Vikings play the Redskins, my brother called from Pennsylvania to say they had just taken a family portrait and I was included.

“Hmmm, that’s curious,” I said, “since I’m sitting on the couch in Minnesota.”

“Oh,” Mom said when he passed the phone to her, “you were here alright, QuoinMonkey. Even had a cute little bow in your hair.”

“We’ll send you the photos,” my sister said. “We’re having a blast taking family Holiday portraits.”

Same sentiments when the phone passed to my other brother, step-dad, and sister-in-law. There was laughter all around. Stay tuned.

And now, Amelia’s Rock recipe. Southern style.


6 1/2 Rocks, baking Christmas rocks, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  6 1/2 Rocks, baking Christmas rocks, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  6 1/2 Rocks, baking Christmas rocks, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  6 1/2 Rocks, baking Christmas rocks, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  6 1/2 Rocks, baking Christmas rocks, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.





BAKING ROCKS – SOUTHERN STYLE



SHOPPING LIST


1 1/2 scant cups sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups nuts (chopped) (I always use pecans in my recipes)
1 box dates (about 2 cups, cut
up) (Dromedary are best around here. Buy them whole and cut them into quarters; store-bought cut dates are coated and dry.)

2 1/2 cups plain flour (not self-rising flour) (sifted or fluffed with a fork; not packed or thumped; should be light and airy)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice (sift/fluff spices into flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda (in 2 tablespoons sour milk or warm water)



COOKING INSTRUCTIONS


Mix:

Rock Batter, baking Christmas rocks, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Cream butter and sugar.
Then gradually add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.
Gradually add flour and spice mix.
Mix soda in sour milk (or warm water). Fold into mixture, just until combined.
Stir in nuts and dates to coat all the pieces.


Bake:

Baking Rocks, baking Christmas rocks, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Fill cupcake pans 2/3 full.
Bake in oven preheated to 350 degrees for about 25 mins (or until toothpick comes out clean).


Eat:

5 Golden Rocks, baking Christmas rocks, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Rocks keep well and are better after the second day. Keep in covered container (you can also wrap in cloth towel). If they become too dry, add a slice of bread, broken up, to the container. They will absorb moisture from bread.

My recipes were written by Aunt Cassie and didn’t have any directions. We were suppose to know all the extras, so I wrote them in for you. Mixing really well makes a difference with a lot of cakes.


That’s Mom’s recipe for Rocks. I like them warm. Right out of the oven. But the best part of baking Rocks? Rocks smell like home.


6 1/2 Rocks, baking Christmas rocks, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

-related to post, Southern Banana Pudding – A Family Tradition

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Whoopie Pies, Falmouth, Maine, by alcinoe, released to public domain, 2006.

Whoopie Pies, Falmouth, Maine, photo by alcinoe, 2006, image released to public domain. 

 
 

I’m having way too much fun with these old family recipes. The comfort foods we grew up with connect to memories. And memories connect to family stories. In a comment on Memories, Writing, & Family Recipes, Mom mentioned the delectable Whoopie Pie and my nostrils curled with the scent of little cocoa cakes rising in the oven.

 
 

What’s a Whoopie Pie?

I can tell you what it’s not. It’s not a cookie, or a cupcake, and, nope, not a MoonPie. I had to do a little research on the history of the Whoopie Pie, and found an excellent account at What’s Cooking America. Originally made from leftover batter, this chocolaty dessert didn’t emerge from my Southern roots, but much further north in Lancaster County (locals emphasize the 1st syllable in Lancaster, the last two falling away quickly), the emerald Pennsylvania Dutch Country, 15 or 20 minutes from home.

Home is a relative term. For me, home was the Deep South from birth to age 12:  Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. But from ages 13 to 21, I lived in a rural area of Central Pennsylvania where my mother and most of the family still reside. The cultural differences in North and South speak for themselves. But one of the things that happens when families crisscross the U.S., digging up and replanting roots, is the adoption and adaptation of geographical foods and culture. If you’ve traveled around this country in culinary delight, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

All that said, I do come by the Whoopie Pie honestly. When tackling the family ancestry, Mom discovered that my great grandfather (on her side) grew up in Coatesville, Pennsylvania; the rest of the family roots are in South Carolina and Georgia. My Southern grandmother also met and married a Pennsylvanian when she lived with us a few years in the 1960’s.

Miraculously, she convinced the genteel Yankee to fly South for the winter, and the two of them eventually moved back to Georgia (probably taking the Whoopie recipe with them!). I guess you could say the family history is a proud mix of North and South, which makes the palette of foods we enjoy that much richer!

 
 

How Did the Whoopie Pie Get Its Name?

Mom emailed the recipe (below) for Whoopie Pies; it was adopted by my sister (another excellent cook and baker following in the tradition of my mother). Whoopie Pies are also a New England specialty, and one of Maine’s great comfort foods. Check out Labadie’s Bakery site to order the Maine Whoopie Pie in every size imaginable. They’ve been baking them since 1925.

I even found a recipe for Red Velvet Whoopie Pies (see Red Velvet Cake commentary at Home & Hearth – On Turning 70). But the best way to experience this treat is to head out to Pennsylvania Dutch Country for the real deal. The Amish have been passing the pies down for generations and you can often buy them at mom-and-pop roadside stands across the area.

But how did the scrumptious Whoopie Pie get its name? According to Amish legend, when children would find these treats in their lunch bags, they would shout “Whoopie!”

My thoughts exactly. Here’s to making Whoopies. Whoop on!

 
 
 

Whoopie Pies, Falmouth, Maine, by alcinoe, released to public domain, 2006.  Whoopie Pies, Falmouth, Maine, by alcinoe, released to public domain, 2006.  Whoopie Pies, Falmouth, Maine, by alcinoe, released to public domain, 2006. 

Whoopie Pies, Falmouth, Maine, by alcinoe, released to public domain, 2006.  Whoopie Pies, Falmouth, Maine, by alcinoe, released to public domain, 2006.  Whoopie Pies, Falmouth, Maine, by alcinoe, released to public domain, 2006. 

 
 
 

How To Make Whoopie Pies

 
 

Shopping List – Pies

1 c. shortening
2 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 c. hot water
1 c. sour milk (or buttermilk)

2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
4 c. flour (plain)
2/3 c. cocoa (add water to cocoa)
1/2 tsp. salt

 
 

Cooking Instructions:

Mix hot water and cocoa and set aside. Cream shortening and sugar, then add eggs, one at a time. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Add buttermilk alternately with flour, then add cocoa mixture. Spoon by teaspoonfuls (or tablespoon, depending on how large you want them) onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees – about 8 minutes.

 
 

Shopping List – Filling

2 egg whites
2 tsp. vanilla
4 Tbsp. flour
1 c. Crisco
4 c. 10X Powdered sugar
4 Tbsp. milk

 
 

Cooking Instructions:

Beat egg whites, vanilla, flour, and Crisco all together. Add powdered sugar alternately with milk; beat well. When pies are cool, spread a giant scoop of filling on a pie. Place another pie on top, and gently press together. (You might want to wrap them individually to store, as they tend to stick to each other.) Enjoy!

 
 

You can also freeze Whoopie Pies and eat them later. That’s good to know for one and two person households! Liz and I made way too much banana pudding over Thanksgiving!

 
 

-posted on red Ravine, Friday, December 14th, 2007

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Smile, You're On A Banana Puddin'!, Thanksgiving Day, November 2007, Minneapolis, Minnesota,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Stirring the steaming, liquid vanilla pudding as it warms on the stove is kind of Zen for me. The silver spoon gleams and swirls through currents of milk and cornstarch. I stare, mesmerized.

Liz was bustling around the kitchen, dicing and dashing, mixing the Dijon, OJ, and honey basting sauce, chopping bananas, basting the naked Cornish hens, while I stirred, and stirred, and stirred.

It’s a meditative practice, stirring pudding. Anything can be practice. Cooking is grounding. Recipes provide structure. Food anchors us in detail. Natalie often taught us – if you want to ground your writing, write about food. The closer to your heart, the better.

I kept staring at the steam, lost in memories of all the times Mom would grab one of us kids to stir, and keep the pudding from scorching, while she hurried around the kitchen, trying to pull a meal together for our family of 8. I have a lot of appreciation for all the meals she cooked for us.

When Liz broke into the box of Nabisco “simple goodness” Nilla wafers, she smiled and pointed to the inside of the cardboard. There, printed in both English and Spanish, was the recipe for the Original Nilla Banana Pudding with meringue topping, the one that Mom talked about in her comment on Southern Banana Pudding.

           The Puddin' In Banana Puddin', Thanksgiving Day, November 2007, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.        Baste With Care, Thanksgiving Day, November 2007, Minneapolis, Minnesota,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.         Chop, Chop!, bananas for banana pudding, Thanksgiving Day, November 2007, Minneapolis, Minnesota, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  

I remember the old style pudding and the time it took to make it. In further research, I discovered that the recipe for original banana pudding with meringue (that’s printed inside our Nilla wafer box) can be found at NabiscoWorld, Original Nilla Banana Pudding. 

There’s also a page of Spread Some Holiday Cheer Nilla recipes that includes a Meringue-Topped Southern Banana Pudding that uses the boxed vanilla pudding (not Instant but Cook & Serve) that is in R3’s recipe post — Southern Banana Pudding – A Family Tradition.

           Basting The Birds, Thanksgiving Day, November 2007, Minneapolis, Minnesota,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.         It's All About The Layers, Thanksgiving Day, November 2007, Minneapolis, Minnesota,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.         Thanksgiving Dinner, Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Confused? Like I said, there are as many banana pudding recipes as there are families to make them. Each is unique, traditional for that family. It seems to me that as puddings and pies became more packaged and convenient, the recipes were slightly altered to adapt them to the additional speed needed to save time as women became busier and busier outside the home.

That’s my theory. So take your pick; try them all and see which appeals to you. Next time, I want to make the vanilla pudding from scratch, the Original Nilla Banana Pudding with meringue. Just like my Aunt used to make.

I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving. A Holiday to count our blessings. To be grateful for what we have. Now it’s time to head off to my writing projects. I’m grateful for the simple gift of time. This day is just for me.

 
 

-posted on red Ravine, Friday, November 23rd, 2007

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