My two grandmothers were very different and very good friends. They both lived into their late 90’s.
Grammie Withy had help in the kitchen. She knew what people liked and she put on spreads for her eight children and their copious children and her many grands, great grands and friends, making each one of us feel like her special guest.
Gramma Brewster cooked and baked with ease and the more the merrier in the kitchen. She had a practical nature using every piece of stale bread, grapefruit rind and cup of sour milk turning them in to yummy custards, pancakes and desert.
Do you remember when you could still use your milk when it turned? Can’t do that today. Milk has certainly changed.
Have you ever had a candied grapefruit rind? Surprisingly delicious. I thought I’d try her recipe when I was in college. It took about a week to make. Cannot say I have done that often since!
She made each one of her fifty odd grandchildren a “Rocky Pond” chocolate cake for their birthday every year. She poured her frosting over the cake and its seven or eight fat marshmallows (those were the rocks) on top. It melted into the marshmallows and the cake a little bit before it hardened creating a soft layer under a slightly crispy hardened outer layer. It was a treat for us as children and continued to be even when we went off to college. It instantly transported us back to childhood. Such a thrill to find a heavy square package in otherwise sparse mail box!
My grandmother created a cook book of old pilgrim recipes and illustrated it as a fund raiser. It went into at least four editions with lots of old fashioned simple recipes and lore using the abundance of harvests and making the best out of ingredients at hand: Cod and clams, corn and potatoes. The concepts we are re-discovering today. There are lots of recipes calling for 'fat back' and pork scraps. Although these ingredients seem modern due to the chokingly over-used trend and resurgent love for all things pork.
Spider Corn Bread Recipe:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place skillet in the oven to warm up as well.
Mix the following ingredients together:
1 1/3 cup of Corn Meal
1/3 cup of Flour
1 teaspoon of Baking Soda
Add to that-
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs (beaten)
1 cup of milk
1/4 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
Once mixed, place 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter into warm skillet to melt and coat the pan.
Pour mixture into the pan.
Then pour another cup of sweet milk in a circular motion over mixture in the skillet.
Place in oven and check after 35 minutes. The top should be golden brown without much movement when you jiggle it slightly. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Best served warm!