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My grandma grew up in the depression era. She was born in 1920 in Ohio where I currently live today. When I was a kid grandma saved every bread bag to re-use, every clean piece of foil rolled up into a big shiny ball, dried out paper towels, saved and re-used every butter bowl and cool whip bowl for leftovers.
She had an oven that each time she used it she had to light the pilot light underneath to get started. The matches always sat right next to the stove and I can still smell it if I think hard enough from each time she struck the box to light it.
The cool whip bowl in the fridge always had peanut butter fudge in it. Always. Grandma did it all. If you grew up mostly in the 80s like I did you had the same grandma and you know exactly what I mean.
Along the way she had some great recipes that I was lucky enough to get the old recipe box after she passed away from Alzheimer’s back in the year 2000. The box is stuff full of goodness, every card and piece of paper was placed in that box with her hands. It’s packed with many childhood memories in one small wooden box. I remember exactly where she had it on her kitchen counter.
I opened her old recipe box when I first got my hands on it and as I opened the papers and recipes all jammed inside they smelled like grandma’s house. That nostalgic smell that only you know because its etched in your olfactory senses forever. My mom had kept the box with her old recipe books on a shelf and told me that I could take them if I wanted to as they were just sitting there not being used.
Well yes I did! I couldn’t wait to plunge through the recipes and find something she used to make, her handwriting on some of them, and others typed up on an old fashioned typewriter. These are classic recipes no matter how simple can never be replaced. She carefully picked each one of these and put them in this little wooden box for one of us to find and pilfer through later on.
These were simple things she made with real ingredients, made from scratch foods that melt in your mouth and you ate only at her house when you visited. You can try to follow the recipes she made but you will never get the tastes as she had them with a touch of this and that added in with grandmas love making it the best.
Going through the recipes I can see so much about my grandmother and how simple things were back in her time. I love the recipes we cook today all readily available on Pinterest we don’t even need to keep a recipe box anymore but it usually requires me going through the spice section and buying 4 to 5 different new spices I’ve never even heard of.
Most of the old recipes are full of the basic staple ingredients, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pepper, sugar, heavy cream, broths, fresh vegetables. Everything wholesome and good that brings us back to the days where a meal was an event, family time where we all sat and talked about our days instead of everyone’s necks flexed forward looking at whatever electronic device they have their hands on.
When I looked through all of her recipes I started picking out different ones I wanted to try to make. Here is one my daughter and I made along with a picture of grandma in her early 20’s and her packed recipe box full of goodies:
Gertie’s Sundae Dessert was not hard to make at all. The recipe includes simple ingredients such as butter, Ritz crackers, sugar, vanilla pudding, vanilla ice cream, cool whip and Heath Bar bits. Simple and very good to eat!
What’s also fun is that I have no clue who Gertie or Mary Fisher were but they were obviously people that my grandmother knew to put their special recipe in her little wooden box. Here are the ingredients and the end result:
Drop me a message if you try this recipe I would love to hear from you! Send me your favorite dessert that your grandma used to make and I will try it. Have an amazing week!