All this week my husband has been home and he’s been cooking meals from my grandmother’s recipe box. They’re pretty unique. My grandmother (Granny to me, Nanny to my children) was born in Southern Illinois to an all Irish mother and an all English father.
She grew up during the Depression, on the banks of the Mississippi and Ohio River. She had one sister who was 16 years older than her. I believe there was a brother in-between but he didn’t live for very long and it was something they never talked about. My great Aunt used to tell me about hearing stories from her uncles about the Civil War and both her and my Granny had many, very funny stories about the Great Flood of 1937.
My sister and I were very close to my grandparents. I was affectionately known as my grandmother’s ” little turd”. I loved my nickname and was truly devastated when I learned what an actual turd was. One time for our birthday they bought us train tickets from Orlando to Tampa. I think I was probably 10 or so and that was just about the best birthday present I ever received.
My grandmother was quite a woman and like so many of her generation, a hard worker. She raised two children, worked until her sixties, kept a sparkling clean house and took care of her elderly mother for years. She never lost her temper, except one time when she famously hit my grandfather in the head with an iron skillet — a story I heard over and over as a child. She sewed, quilted, baked and cooked. She had a fondness for whiskey, sea breezes (in later years), cigarettes and cards and was known to say “shit-fire“ under her breath quite often. She was caring, kind, liberal, spiritual, a curly red-head and loads of fun. She was present for the birth of my first child and was there for my last. She just sat and watched and told me time and time again that I was fine and I could do it.
She died in October right after my sister’s, my mother’s and my birthday 3 years ago. My 3 year-old at the time used to look up at the sky and talk to her while she swung on her swing set. She said, as only a child could, that it was ok, because Granny was in pieces (instead of “at peace”). My grandfather died the following March . Losing her, her birthday and their wedding anniversary was just too much for him to go on. Luckily he’s in pieces, too.
She would have been 83 this March and would have celebrated her 62nd wedding anniversary. So it is fitting that my husband happened to be home this week, happened to decide to cook these wonderful, unique dishes from her recipe box and that this post closes out March. This to me celebrates a wonderful woman, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother in a very unique way, just like her.