Category: Family Recipe Friday

Family Recipe Friday – Grandma’s Cranberry Jelly

Another recipe from Grandma Hoffmann‘s recipe binder – this one written on the back of a ticket to the Van Buren School Carnival.  Back when it cost 30 cents, apparently. This is the cranberry jelly that makes its appearance on the Thanksgiving table every year.  The story I have heard is that both this version and canned cranberry had to be served when Mom, Jay, Paula, and Carla were little.  Uncle Jay, in particular insisted on “the kind with the ring.”  Now if only we had had this recipe close at hand for Thanksgiving 2012 – somehow that year we remembered things incorrectly and boiled at length.  FYI – this results in a thick sticky glop.  Grandma’s instructions, when followed, result in a much more successful end product.

Family Recipe Friday – Mincemeat

Today’s recipe comes again from Grandma Hoffmann’s treasure trove of handwritten and clipped recipes. This one, however, remains a mystery – it’s not in Grandma’s handwriting, and I thought it might have been written by her mother, but Mom says no.  So – whose recipe for mincemeat is this?

My closest connections to mincemeat are the memories of Christmas 1996, spent in Newtownards, Northern Ireland, with the family of Fiona, a fellow student in the MA program in Medieval Studies at the University of York (England). Over that holiday Fiona’s grandmother, a spry 94, insisted upon my eating great quantities of sausage, boiled potatoes, pound cake studded with candied cherries…and little mincemeat pies topped with whipped cream. When I finally reached the point where I could barely move or breathe (at nearly every meal), Granny Sloan would ask, if I remember it correctly (somewhere I have the exact phrase written down), “Are you close cousins?” which apparently means “Have you had enough to eat?”

Based on the quantities in this recipe, I think it would be sufficient to make close cousins of us all.

Family Recipe Friday – Roman Holiday

Another memorable recipe from Grandma’s cookbook is this one – for Roman Holiday. I remember having this at “family dinners” at Grandma’s house, or at home when Mom would make it.

Roman Holiday

2 cups macaroni
1 lb. hamburger
diced onion, 1 medium
1 12-oz. can tomato juice
grated Parmesan cheese

Cook macaroni in salted water (about 15 min.). Fry hamburger and diced onion in heavy skillet, breaking up meat as for chili, until pink color disappears (season to taste with salt & pepper). Put layer of macaroni in greased baking dish, then layer of meat, another layer of macaroni and another of meat. Pour tomato juice over all. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 435 for 35 min. (You can bake potatoes at the same time and they will be done at the same time as meat dish if you wish). Serves 4 to 6 people.

I love this particular handwritten recipe, though, for the other memories of Grandma it brings back as well.  It embodies Grandma’s inability to throw anything away. Yes, I know, it skips a generation…. This recipe was written on the back of a piece of junk mail. I remember well that kitchen drawer full of letters requesting donations, expired coupons, and old greeting cards. We grandkids would pull out these scraps of miscellaneous paper and use them to record poems, stories, and drawings of birds and whales.

Grandma apparently used them to record recipes – and notes to Grandpa:

Family Recipe Friday – Aunt Leona’s Rhubarb Dessert

Tucked inside Grandma Hoffmann’s recipe binder, amidst all the booklets from Kraft, Good Housekeeping, and Better Homes and Gardens, are a few hand-written recipes. One is for a recipe famous within the family: Aunt Leona’s Rhubarb Dessert. This particular recipe card was written out by Grandma Hoffmann and credited to her sister-in-law. I can imagine Grandma requesting the recipe and writing it out on one of many trips back to Fairbury, Illinois, from Idaho.

Not being a fan of rhubarb, I’ve never had this particular dessert, but I do know from two trips to Fairbury as a child that Aunt Leona was a marvelous cook.  I remember the smell of yeasty, warm buttered rolls in particular, as well as a particular smell Aunt Leona’s house itself had. I’m not the only one to remember that smell, either – the house at 505 S. 4th Street was the scene of many childhood memories for my mother as well, as my great-grandmother and Aunt Leona, who never married, had lived there beginning around 1943. On occasion my own front door here in Virginia has given off that same distinctive odor – is it something about all the woodwork Aunt Leona had in her house? I have also learned that the family who lived in my house from about 1930-1960 had a large rhubarb patch in their backyard garden. Perhaps I ought to plant some…

Marie Kilgus and Leona Hoffmann

Family Recipe Friday – a Sampling

In 1940, Grandma Blanche (Wilson) Montgomery wrote to her sister Mildred in Winner, South Dakota. Part of the letter is missing, but it includes another enclosed letter and recipes from a Mrs. Dickinson:

Sandwich Spread (cucumber)
Peel 14 large cucumbers, 3 red peppers, 3 green peppers. Take 1 qt onions, grind all in food chopper. Add ¾ cup salt. Drain over night. In the morning add 1 pint vinegar, ¾ cup sugar, 3T. flour, 1 t ground mustard, ½ cup butter and 4 well beaten eggs.
Cook well and add 1 cup sweet cream, 1 t celery seed, 1 t mustard seed. Cook and seal while hot.

Sandwich Spread (Tomato)
Grind enough green tomatoes to make a pint (without the juice); grind 2 green peppers and 2 red peppers. Mix the ground tomatoes and peppers and sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt and after a few minutes drain off juice. Put in kettle with ½ cup water and boil until tender. Add ½ doz. sweet pickles (ground) to the tomatoes and peppers and keep hot until the following dressing is prepared: 1 c sugar, 2 T flour, 2 T prepared mustard, ½ cup vinegar, 1 cup sour cream, 3 eggs, well beaten. Let come to a boil, stirring all the time. Then pour over the tomato and pepper mixture, stirring just enough to mix well. Seal while hot.

Tomato catsup
1 peck tomatoes
1 pint vinegar
1 ½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 “ allspice
½ “ cloves
1 “ salt
½ “ black pepper
Boil the tomatoes and rub through a find colander. Add the rest of the ingredients and boil until thick as desired. Seal hot.

(A little cornstarch thickening added to tomato pulp for catsup makes much more & keeps as well.)

Tomato Catsup
1 peck ripe tomatoes
¼ cup salt
½ pound sugar
½ teaspoon cayenne
1 “ ground mace
1 tablespoon celery seed
1 “ ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon “ cloves
1 quart vinegar

Wash, cut up, cook and strain tomatoes. Add other ingredients and boil until the right consistence. Seal.

[the following recipes apparently in a different hand:]

Sweet Green Tomato Pickles

Slice the tomatoes and soak overnight in salted water that has been poured over them boiling hot.
In the morning drain and add 2 pound of sugar (brown or white) to each peck of tomatoes, and enough vingar to cover them. Add a few mixed spices. If you like a “hot” flavor a few green or red pepper my be added. Boil slowly until tender; can and seal while hot.

Green tomato Pickles

Pick small, green tomatoes. Boil in salt water until tender, “but not mushy,” boil just a few at a time, do not crowd. Drain in a colander, then when they are cool enough to handle stick 3 whole cloves in each tomato and place them in a earthen crock. Boil the following syrup. One part vinegar and 8 part of sugar till real thick pour over the tomatoes boiling hot and let stand over night. In the moring reheat to boiling point and seal.
Grand is no name for these
Happy, South, Dakota

Chili Sauce.
24 large tomatoes (ripe)
5 onions
1 qt vinegar
1 ½ c sugar
1 T ginger, cloves & cinnamon
1 T. salt, dash of cayenne pepper and one small pepper (red or green.)
Chop tomatoes, onions & pepper fine and cook over a slow fire until it is thick. Seal while hot.

(We like this on meat.)

Another even older recipe (not technically genealogical) is one I bought at an antique store years ago:

Excellent Cookies

6 eggs 3 cups of butter and lard mixed. 3 cups of Sugar 1 cup of thick butter milk 1 rounding teaspoonfull of Soda. 1 heaping teaspoonfull of baking powder 1 nutmeg Salt. mix very Soft and bake in a quick oven.

Aug 28th 1900
Mrs. Amanda Ground

Finally, one of the most prized of my 1092 cookbooks (that’s another story) is not technically a cookbook at all, but a tattered three-ringer binder with a red fruit-patterned cover, titled “My Recipes.”  This binder belonged to my other grandmother, Velma (Swing) Hoffmann, and bears the characteristic evidence of her repairs: blue electrical tape on the spine. The binder doesn’t bear a copyright date, but I suspect Grandma bought it early in her marriage: least some one of the recipe booklets it contains dates to 1938.

Most of the recipes included were cut from newspapers, booklets, and magazines, but a number are handwritten.  The following is one which is famous in the family – Aunt Leona (Grandma’s sister-in-law) was well-known for her baking and hospitality toward visiting nieces (and great-nieces):

Rhubarb Dessert (Leona)

1 bar butter
1 C. flour
5 tbsp. powdered sugar

Mix together & press into pie or cake pan, 8×8. Bake 15 min. at 350°. 

2 C. rhubarb, cut up
1 1/2 C. sugar
1/4 C. flour
pinch of salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten.

Pour over first crust. Bake at 350° – 35 minutes or until set.