Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Heaven Sent Birthday Wish

Wow! Do  you know who was born on  August 28, 1915, one hundred years ago? It's a very special child, but who knew back then.   Who would have known the impact she would have on  so many with her wonderful old-fashioned,  New England style living. Who knew that her  pressing apples, dipping candles, weaving cloth, painting pictures, milking goats and filling her family's lives with so many traditions would be loved by so many. And then, best of all, she shared all of these things in her wonderful pictures  and her books for those with a kindred spirit  to love. And love them we do. Especially, I love the Corgis because of her.   Happy 100th birthday (August 28, 1915 – June 18, 2008) in heaven Tasha Tudor.   You still  inspire me to this day. Your legacy lives on.   
I made these Tasha Tudor biscuits today and they are fabulous. Takes only 10 minutes to mix up, cut out and 10 minutes  to bake. No preservatives. Natural.  The recipe is from  her Tasha Tudor Cookbook. I love the recollections she shares with each recipe along with her sketches.
 I smothered these extra large, three inch size biscuits  with sausage-gravy. Did I say, YUMMY?



So Here's the Thing: If you are reading this, you may not be famous by any standard but you are leaving a legacy for your family. What is your legacy? What will they remember?  Give that some thought today, cause as the song says, sung by Randy Travis,  Its not what you take when you leave this world behind you,  its what you leave behind you when you go. Well done Tasha!

www.tashatudorandfamily.com

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Grandma Fender's Blackberry Jam Cake Recipe

This week on the farm.........Grab a cup of coffee or tea and relax with me for a moment. 


While mowing the horse pastures this week on the farm, I noticed many blackberry patches around the field.  They’re red now and prolific and plump from all the rain we have had here in Ohio.  It won’t be long and we can pick them. 


As a kid, we made our own pails to pick berries in. We took nails and made two holes in a coffee can and slipped a thin piece of wire through to make the handle. It was a great thing to have even besides using it for berry picking. Then, Mother instructed us that we could wear a belt and strap the pail to the belt and use both hands for picking making the chore go faster. Sounds exciting? At first it is. The first berry is good too. Then it becomes boring as most kids know and the berry vines get caught in your hair and you have to call for help. And then you’re bleeding or bugs are getting you and so on.  And you get the picture, right?

During the picking season one evening of my youth, Mother informed us we were going to Grandma Fender’s farm, all of us, to pick blackberries the next day.   She made it sound pleasant and exciting. We had never picked berries with Grandma before.




So the next morning, extremely early we got up, “while it is still cool” and drove down the long gravel driveway   to Grandma’s white clapboard farmhouse. She appeared promptly.


There, we met my mother’s older sister Vivian and a bunch of her kids and Grandma who was carrying   a galvanized washtub. “ What’s that for?” I asked in wonderment. “Well, Sherry, we are going to pick until we have this full of blackberries so we will have plenty for jams and jellies, and pies and cakes this year, she said matter-of-fact.” And it was no joke.
I looked across the tub at sister Debbie. She looked at me. Her eyes were as big as last night’s dinner plate. I am sure mine were too. But we didn’t question her or smart off.

At the wild blackberry patch, the berries hung prolifically. There were oodles of sweet, plump berries. Some went into our mouth, though we were scolded for it. Then we smelled the most fowl odor from afar.  “What is that?” we all asked.  “It’s a pole cat,” Grandma told us. And she went on to explain how the polecat worked and then told us the familiar name, a skunk.  But if it were a snake, she had brought a hoe to take care of it, as she was scared to death of them. 

The icing is almost like fudge. So good put on while slightly warm. 




Many hands do make quick work and by the time the noon sun had heated up the holler we were picking from we finished.  Grandma’s girls grabbed a handle on each side of the washtub and joyfully we headed for the house.  And did I mention that  our pails had to be full too? Yep. We learned that later.

That winter for Christmas though, I experienced the best Blackberry Jam Cake with Carmel Icing ever.  When Grandma removed the cake cover, the cake had split down the middle and the icing had slid, but though it looked a mess, it was delicious.  I never forgot that berry- picking day and before Grandma passed away, she gave me the recipe for her famous cake. But more importantly, she gave me a memory that never fades. 


 BLACKBERRY JAM CAKE AND CARMEL ICING
Real cream added. Yummy and rich!

Blend together 1 cup butter, 6 eggs, 2 cups sugar. Add 1 1/2 cups blackberry jam. Next add 3 cups flour, 1/2 cup whipping cream with 2 teaspoons baking soda stirring in it. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg, 2 teaspoons allspice, 1 teaspoons ground cloves, 2 teaspoons cinnamon.

Bake at 350 degrees in 3 prepared pans no more than twenty-five minutes.

Grandma's note on the recipe she gave me:
( If it falls apart use toothpicks to hold it together; they digest pretty good. Ha! Ha!)
This is a real old recipe.


Carmel Icing-It Never Fails


Bring to a boil 3 Tablespoons butter. 6 Tablespoons canned milk, 9 Tablespoons brown sugar. Add 3/4 box confectioners sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Remove from heat and beat until thick enough to spread.

Grandma's note on the recipe she gave me: (Not too long, Ive had it go to fudge. Ha!)

Love Grandma Fender
(1997)


If anyone makes this cake, please send me a picture and I'll post it here.







Sunday, May 10, 2015

My 1993 Poem Written for Mother on Mother's Day

Me and Daughter Christi celebrating
Mom's 80th birthday! 
To Mother on Mother’s Day 1993
The Image in the Mirror
I looked in the mirror this morning and was surprised to see, my mother’s little girl was grownup-not tall, and didn’t look much like her little girl at all.
Some time during the night, baby crows had stamped their feet near her eyes, and there were gray hairs, and meandering lines.
The face in the mirror was blank as it stared back at me, while my mind rolled back through the years to days when I was in my mother’s care.
Now I was able to understand her quick temper, her frustration, her trials and tribulations.
There are days when I long for her gentle hand tickling my small face, or her happy smile, loving me the best way she knew how.
Every daughter swears it on one day or another; “I’ll not be like her when I become the mother.”
But as time passes quickly through the years, and daughters rear babes of their own, every daughter realizes-and only then, that the best mother is probably their own.
Now, I graciously see more clearly, as I never did before, that the image in the mirror looks like mother more and more.  

Love, Sherry Phillips Mitchell 1993.   

And with this I wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all, especially my own, for without moms that  give us the gift of life, none would be here at all.



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