Blogging Prompts, Friday Funny, Hoffmann, Hoffmann Line

Friday Funny – Sisters in Law

I love this picture. It was taken in June 2009 on one of our annual visits to see family in Fairbury, Illinois. We didn’t know it then, but it would also be our last visit with Aunt Alice. Along with trying to convince Dottie to drink cinnamon schnapps (I think), Aunt Alice also regaled us with stories of when they were young wives vacationing together. In particular I remember one story of a rainy day when both families were on vacation in Michigan. All the kids were outside playing in the rain, and Alice and Dottie decided they would bake a German chocolate cake. They could hardly wait for the cake to finish baking before they tasted it. And tasted a little bit more. And then more. And suddenly to their horror, the entire cake was gone except for a tiny sliver! Hastily they devoured the final sliver, then washed and put away the pan. Between them, the two sisters-in-law had eaten the entire thing. Hopefully the smell of the rain hid the smell of the missing German chocolate cake…

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Blogging Prompts, Family Recipe Friday, Hoffmann, Hoffmann Line

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.

Blogging Prompts, Family Recipe Friday, Hoffmann, Hoffmann Line, Swing

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