Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cooking with Grandma

Before my grandma died, she made sure that I have her 1956 Betty Crocker cookbook. This cookbook, with its stained and tattered cover and half torn out pages, guided many baking sessions with my grandma and me when I was little. I have fond memories of watching her bake with shortening, put the fork marks in peanut butter cookies, and roll up "bumble bees" out of left over pie crust. It was with her that I learned that hamburgers can be fried in a skillet and pizza can be cut with scissors.

It meant a lot to me that I have this cookbook. I have set it in my kitchen as sort of a decoration for the past couple of years, but after talking with my dad about how much he loved grandma's butterscotch meringue pie, I decided to put it to good use. I carefully turned to the pie section, trying hard not to lose any loose pages. I love seeing her handwriting on the pages and the occasional greasy finger print. I also love seeing how old-fashioned this cookbook is....assuming that the woman of the house was to be the domestic goddess. There are weeks worth of meal ideas, tips on how to keep your man happy and full, and how to brew coffee for 40 people. My how the times have changed. Nearly everything calls for a hearty dose of margarine in sight.

Anyway, I set out to make this butterscotch meringue pie as a belated Father's Day gift for my dad. I carefully followed all of the directions, and, after using nearly all of my pots and pans as well as every measuring device I own, this was the finished product:

I think my dad was pretty surprised that I actually made the pie. It was pretty good, too. I had so much fun making it that I turned around and did a mixed berry pie with strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. This pie was pretty awesome, especially warmed up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

I have plans to do a chocolatey pie next. I just love the way the crust tastes, and I don't care that I put like 1/2 a cup of shortening in it. It's what makes it amazing. I eat diet ice cream, diet cookies, diet chips, and I drink diet coke. Having a piece of full-flavor, full-fat, homemade goodness every now and then won't kill me.

I don't have oodles and oodles of warm fuzzies about that side of the family, but I do have my grandma's cookbook, which is really all I need.

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