Monday, March 1, 2010

Stori- my Grandma

Ever since reading Debi's post the other day on her grandmother's recipe, I have been thinking of my own Grandma.

My dad's mother is from back east, Massachusetts. She's a prim and proper woman, very cold emotionally. A fantastic cook and baker. While married to my grandfather, she was the camp cook for him many hunting clients. My grandpa was a hunting guide and outfitter in western Colorado. Running the camp with precision, she struck me as a woman who would allow little room for mistakes. After her marriage ended, Grandma went to work as a cake decorator. She created amazing works of art with cake and frosting. Her kitchen immaculate, her pantry well stocked, and always fresh cookies available.

This is not the grandma I have been thinking of.
If there was ever two opposites in Grandma land, those were mine.

My Mom's mother was the daughter of Scott immigrants. Her family moved often from one ranch to another in Colorado. Although I don't know much about her life before she became a mother and a wife, she's the grandmother I was closest to growing up. My grandparents had 15 kids together. 16 total counting a daughter my Grandpa had with his first wife who died in cow camp when their girl was only 2 years old. My mother was 12th out of the 15 kids. They grew up in a tiny green house in Meeker Colorado. Grandma was a cook by trade and necessity her entire life. Grandma's little house was always filled with people to the brim and where there was any extra room, you could find a house cat on some one's lap. Although cramped, cluttered, and crowded, there was always room for one more. Grandma's door was never locked and anybody was welcome. Immediately after coming in, Grandma would inevitably try to feed you. One of my favorite things to find when going to her house was Apple Pudding Cake. Heavy, sweet, filled with spices, apples, and raisins. The smell of this baking will immediately take me back to her tiny tilted kitchen, sitting on the stool between the basement stairs and the bathroom, watching Grandma. Whether puttering around the kitchen, sitting at the table playing solitaire, or stitching something on her sewing machine, she was mine. She wasn't perfect, she wasn't meticulous, she wasn't always filled with the right things to say, but she was mine. Her love of babies, the always present bobby pins in her hair, a constant pot of coffee on all times, and always a fluffy house cat to be snuggled with. I can go back any time in my mind with the first sniff of this dish.

Apple Pudding Cake
( i have no idea why this is called pudding cake, there is no pudding in it anywhere!)

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening
5 medium apples - peeled, cored, and sliced
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
good sized handful of both raisins and chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, cream together sugar and shortening. Add egg and mix well. Add in apples. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Stir into apple mixture. Pour into slightly greased 9x13 cake pan, top with crumble. Bake at 350* for about an hour or till toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

Crumble topping

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cold butter or margarine
1 cup regular oatmeal
1/2 cup flour

Mix together all ingredients gently with fingers. Do not mix completely, you want this as a lumpy crumble topping.

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