When my sister-in-law, Deb, cleaned out Mom's kitchen while we were prepping the house for sale, she gave me Mom's recipe box. As I have gone through the box, so many memories have flooded my mind. I know I can make copies of the recipes and give them to each of the girls; but, today I wanted to reflect on some that mean the most to me. That way there is a personal reflection attached to these recipes and maybe they will become family favorites for coming generations.
The first recipe I remember being aware of, was Mashed Potato Doughnuts. My grandmother (Minnie Veach, Mom's mother) would use her left-over potatoes to make doughnuts because nothing went to waste in her kitchen. I was always fascinated by the fact that she could take something so bland and make a delicious, warm treat. Each time she would cook a dinner for the family that included mashed potatoes, I would secretly fret when anyone would ask for a second or third helping of mashed potatoes. I just knew there wouldn't be enough left over for doughnuts; but, when there was, Grandma would whip up a batch of doughnuts in no time. Here is Grandma Minnie's recipe.
OLD-FASHIONED POTATO DOUGHNUTS
(note: ingredients listed are for 1 cup of left-over mashed potatoes)
3 tablespoons shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup mashed potatoes
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
vegetable oil for frying
Cream shortening and sugar; add egg and beat well. Stir in milk and potatoes. Combine dry ingredients, stirring well. Place dough on a lightly floured surface. (In my grandmother's case, it was a clean dish towel, heavily dusted with flour.) Knead lightly and roll to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2 inch doughnut cutter. (Grandma used one that was aluminum with a red wooden handle.) Heat 3-4 inches of oil to 375 degrees (Grandma used a cast iron skillet.) Drop 3-2 doughnuts into the oil; cooking for about 1 minute on each side or until they are golden brown. Drain the doughnuts on a paper towel. (Grandma used brown paper sacks.) Mix together 1 cup of sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon and sprinkle on the doughnuts.
I don't really remember whether or not the doughnuts were delicious; but, I do remember being fascinated by the things Grandma could in the kitchen!
I think most of Grandma's recipes are closely tied to the fact that they lived on such meager funds. Many of the things they ate were produced on their little farm or hunted; and, Grandma made everything from scratch. I don't know if this next recipe is one that was handed down to her or one she made up on her own. I just remember eating it fresh out of the oven and loving the taste.
GRANDMA VEACH'S OATMEAL CAKE
- Put 1 cup quick cooking oatmeal and 1 stick of butter in a large bowl, pour in 1 1/4 cups boiling water. Mix well with a fork until the butter is melted. Let mixture stand to absorb water.
- Combine 1 cup white sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, 2 eggs and beat until smooth. Add to the oatmeal mixture
- Sift together 1 1/3 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add to the liquid mixture and beat until smooth.
- Pour into a greased 9 X 13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
- Combine 3/4 stick of soft butter, 3/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup evaporated milk, 1 cup coconut. Mix well and spread on cake.
- Return to oven for 5-10 minutes set at broil to toast coconut.
Rarely do I remember my grandparents actually buying food that was ready made. The one exception was when I traveled from Ft. Knox, Kentucky to Ohio with them to spend the summer. They stopped at a little market on the way out of town to pick up a package of bologna, a jar of mayo, and bag of hamburger buns. We stopped at a state park half way between Ft. Knox and South Webster to eat lunch and for some reason, those bologna sandwiches were the most delicious I'd ever tasted!
Occasionally, for special treats, Grandma and Grandpa would take us to get an ice cream cone in the nearby town; or, they would drive over to a little community store in Scioto Furnace and let us pick out a dime's worth of penny candy from a huge, glass display case. These are such sweet childhood memories of my wonderful grandparents that I will always cherish.