Home Economics

by John Darling

Some of grandma's favorite recipes

Seven years after I was born in Flint Osteopath Hospital, my parents decided to uproot the family and move to Phoenix, Arizona. I don't remember much about those first years that I lived in Michigan. What memories I do retain resemble a sketchy collage of black and white pictures, containing images of school events, childhood friends, and places where we had lived. They are the memories that seemed very important to a seven-year-old boy. Now even those are fading.

Lately the only firm recollections that are left to me are of the time spent at my grandparents' farm in the rural municipality of Burton Township. I still remember the eager anticipation I felt each time my parents drove us along the dirt road that led to the long driveway that took us to the Duffy farmhouse. I couldn't wait to play in the snow or pick apples from the orchard in the front yard, depending on the season.

No matter what the time of year it was, though, my grandparents' house was always filled with the smells of my Grandma's wonderful cooking or baking. There was never a cookbook in sight, only her overstuffed recipe box. Many of the recipes had been passed down to her from my great-grandmother who, in turn, had acquired them from her mother.

Grandma added to this hand-me-down collection by swapping recipes with her neighbors and her friends. Oftentimes the dishes described didn't have any common name, as they were the sole creation of the people who gave them to my grandma. She would just refer to them by her friends' names.

What follows are three recipes that were given to her by some of these friends. Fixed all in one sitting, they make a fine meal. Who Ivah, June, and Nella were, I don't know, though I wouldn't doubt if they were her bowling partners since that was Grandma's favorite sport.

Ivah's Chicken Casserole

1 boned, cooked chicken
1-cup raw rice
One cup chopped celery
One cup chopped carrots
Two cans of mushroom soup

Use all the broth from the cooking of the chicken and place in a casserole with chopped vegetables. Mix together well and cover top with buttered bread cubes. Chopped onions and chopped green peppers are optional ingredients. Bake 1/2 hour at 350 degrees.

June's Freezer Cole Slaw

One medium head shredded cabbage
1 cup diced green peppers
1 tsp. salt
Diced celery to taste
Grated carrots as desired

While letting the above stand 1 hour prepare the following:

1/2 cup vinegar
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. celery seed
2 cups water

Bring to boil for 2 minutes.
Let cool.
Mix all ingredients together and freeze.

Thaw to serve.

Nella's Cake

2 cups flour

1/2 cup shortening
1 1/3 cup sugar

1-cup milk
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt

2 eggs
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. clove

Sift dry ingredients together. Add shortening and liquids. Beat for 2 minutes, scraping bowl. Add two eggs, beat for two more minutes. Bake in a 9"x13" pan 40 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

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John Darling: Since 1976, JOHN DARLING has written and published numerous short stories, poems, and magazine articles. He has also written one play that a Canadian Performing Arts School produced. He has two books to his credit as well. One is a book about what inspired bands to choose their stage names and the other is a book of short stories entitled Woman In Black, which is currently available on In February, he launched two new projects. The first is The Ivory Tower, which is a free writer's market database, the other is a new webzine called The Ivory Tower:  your eclectic electric ezine. The first issue of the webzine is due out on March 1, 2008.

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