"Place, with a trace of humanity" Photography/Photo of the Day/Pittsburgh

In My Grandmother’s Hand

I might try to make something from her recipes tomorrow.

The Pineapple Upside Down Cake recipe.    My father’s mother’s recipe box. Sitting on my kitchen shelf.   Yellowed newspaper clippings between the file cards..  I was looking around for items to put on my Keep or Pitch blog and the antique radio  from earlier this week reminded me how objects can tell a story. Or two.  There are recipes for pickles and yeast rolls. Illinois cuisine.  The edge of the file card is discolored as well. I am not going to pitch this in the downsizing effort. I sifted through the cards, read her notes, remembered how she made egg noodles and hung them to dry on the broom handle. Mary Alta Kerr Hendricks born Feb 7, 1892.  She taught me how to knit.  I sleep under one of her quilts now and am figuring out how to repair an afghan she knit. In her retirement, she worked in the flower shop in Lincoln, Illinois.  Kept her lunch  (a can of spinach and a hard boiled egg), inside the glass door refrigerator right next to the buckets of gladiolas and carnations for the bouquets.

What did your grandmother bake/cook that you remember?

I chose this recipe card
cause her handwriting
seemed clear and legible
through the camera lens.

25 responses

  1. Rob

    Oh, how I wish I could go back in time and sit on the stool next to my Grandma Bard once again as she baked a cookie she called “Briars”. A pie dough type crust filled with a sweet raisin/orange filling. She always said it was “an old English recipe”. No one in the family bakes them anymore…too time consuming. That’s our problem isn’t it? People are just too “busy” nowadays. I think I might just pull out that old recipe and give it a go. Thanks Ruth for helping me bring back some great memories. (Would love to see the back side of the recipe or is it a family secret?)


    February 20, 2011 at 6:37 am

  2. It fills my heart with such happiness thinking about the memories your Grandchildren will have. Ruthie you are the best.


    February 20, 2011 at 7:22 am

  3. Pineapple upside down cake was my father’s favorite dessert.


    February 20, 2011 at 8:00 am

  4. W. Keith McManus

    I still have my Mother’s recipe box. It includes items from her Mother.


    February 20, 2011 at 8:01 am

  5. Ruthanne Bauerle

    My grandmother only reheated, never cooked!


    February 20, 2011 at 8:01 am

  6. Sue Reinfeld

    I, like my mother, am a tosser. But, the few things I do have, I cherish.


    February 20, 2011 at 8:27 am

  7. Toni

    My mother made pineapple upside down cake and home made noodles that dried like your grandmother’s. Neither of my grandmothers lived long enough for me to get to know them – but I’m sure my mom carried on some of their cooking traditions.
    I like your grandmother’s handwriting!


    February 20, 2011 at 9:03 am

  8. connie

    It was our next door neighbor, Mrs. Dankovich, who was famous for her up side down cake and it was a special treat when they shared some with our family!!
    I’m intrigued with the poem in the top of the recipe box.
    I have a few of my grandmother’s recipe cards, but haven’t tried the recipes. I enjoy reading my Mom’s oldest cook books from the churches in the Shenango Valley – brings back wonderful memories, too. My mom made those wonderful Slovak nut kolachis that my father’s side of the family enjoyed @ Easter and Christmas. Now she concentrates on those delicate horn cookies :-))


    February 20, 2011 at 9:14 am

  9. Kristin

    Your grandmother and I shared the same birthday!
    I love old recipes and looking @ hand written cards w/ editorial comments to change/improve the original recipe.


    February 20, 2011 at 9:22 am

  10. Vincie

    My grandmother cooked without recipes. Every holiday we would have some kind of Italian food (ravioli, lasagna, etc.) with the traditional American menu. On New Year’s Eve she would make large trays of Sicilian pizza and we would eat it as soon as it came out of the oven. YUM!


    February 20, 2011 at 9:26 am

  11. Laura

    are you going to make the cake to show us how it turns out?


    February 20, 2011 at 9:45 am

  12. Linda K.

    I never knew my grandparents, but I had 3 aunts much older than my mother who we called auntsie-grandmas. While I don’t remember them baking, one of the uncles was famous for his pies. I can remember coming to their house – he would answer the door, his round belly covered in a white apron, the constant cigar in his mouth and the smell of pie wafting out from behind. He loved to laugh and it was always a treat to visit them in Swissvale. Clifford died of a heart attack after shoveling snow.


    February 20, 2011 at 10:06 am

  13. Chris

    A few years ago, my cousin snuck and took my grandmother’s recipes and put together a cook book for all of us. I use it all of the time, and it is one of the best gifts I have ever received. Too bad it never tastes as good as when grandma makes it!


    February 20, 2011 at 10:07 am

  14. Sally

    I am lucky to have 2 of my mom’s recipe boxes and 1 of my grandmother’s. A lot of grandma’s recipes were in her head and she never wrote them down. Grandma was famous for her chicken & dumplings and mother made the best home-made brownies and another dessert called lemon snow. I sure miss them both and all the laughter we had in our house growing up, all centered around some kind of food!


    February 20, 2011 at 11:36 am

  15. My grandmother made this incredible buttermilk fudge. I tried to make it once and failed miserably.


    February 20, 2011 at 1:06 pm

  16. Joyce

    My husband’s mom taught me to make noodles and hang them over the back of a chair to dry. Now they have machines that churn up special pasta foods. Connie, I remember those nut kolachi cookies, too.


    February 20, 2011 at 8:20 pm

  17. erica

    Oh what a trip down memory lane!!!! Thanks, Ruth


    February 21, 2011 at 9:45 am

  18. Patty

    Oh what wonderful memories, I have the recipes books of my mother and her mom, my busha, but it is my father’s mother, grandma, that I remember at the kitchen table, I cannot remember as young as I was what she was baking, except for her flowered apron, a rolling pin,a floured board, and a shot glass with whiskey. She would wash clothes in the back cellar, and bake and cook all day…so by the time the men came home from the mill, the family was ready to sit down to have dinner. She seemed to be strong in spirit and perservance. I guess this is the fabric of who we are today!


    February 26, 2011 at 12:10 pm

  19. Mary Lynn

    My Grandma made the best apricot lattice topped cakes. She called tehm “Poor Cakes”because she thought they were never up to par.I have a few of her recipes in Hungarian and then the traslation in my dad’s hadwriting.


    March 9, 2011 at 7:26 am

  20. Your post does bring back memories and although I never saw my grandmother use a recipe, she was a terrific cook. I did see her churn her own butter every morning from the milk cows. She had a big garden and either froze or canned enough vegetables and soup to last through the winter. Boy, I wish I had a bowl of her creamed corn right now! And then for dessert, fresh peach cobbler.


    March 13, 2011 at 3:56 pm

  21. Reblogged this on Ruth E Hendricks Photography and commented:

    All you need is love. And good food. Someone to share it with.
    Love on Valentine’s Day. Remembering. Going to photograph a Valentine’s Day Wedding tomorrow. In the recipe box lid is a prayer, Be Gentle When You Touch Bread.


    February 13, 2015 at 11:42 pm

  22. I remember ‘helping’ my gran to make sausage rolls and trying to eat the raw sausage meat – no wonder i don’t eat meat now!


    February 14, 2015 at 3:57 am

  23. What a treasure you have. Unfortunately my grandmother did not keep a written record of her recipes.


    February 14, 2015 at 10:38 am

  24. That recipe box is an amazing treasure.


    February 17, 2015 at 9:10 pm

  25. Love this post.
    My paternal g’ma passed away before my parent’s got married & before I was born. So – I never met her.
    Long story short – we weren’t close to my mom’s side of the fam growing up. But – my maternal g’ma was a great cook. She had tons of handwritten recipes. My mom might have some.


    February 18, 2015 at 8:27 pm

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