I have tried to only put useful , informative, new-as-I-come-across them ideas in my posts here. (Yeah, I know… Fail.) Well, regardless of my inner critic, I have been fairly pleased with what I have included.
Today, I was reading a blog I had not seen before, Simpler Times. And while I enjoyed her blog very much, there was a post that blew my mind. Blew. My. Mind.
The simple tip about prolonging the life of one’s celery and carrots was life-changing for me. Not because it was new information, but because it was knowledge I have had my whole life. Let me explain before the “Huh?”s start. It made me realize that all those things that are a part of my daily existence, all those pieces of knowledge my grandmother imparted to me my whole life, all those things I take for granted every single day, might be useful to someone else who didn’t have access to my grandmother’s vast knowledge of how to run a household. (The woman raised seven kids…me included…on a teacher’s salary, BY HERSELF. To say that she picked up some tricks is a mighty understatement.) This is not to say that she was perfect. But who is? We all just try the best we can. And those are the tips that help most. So, as I recall the things she taught me (by doing), I will post them and hopefully they will be life-changing…or at least life-easing for someone else.
Remember when said she wasn’t perfect? Every Good Friday, we had Hot Cross Buns. I never had them hot and fresh from the oven, because she always bought them. I loved them when I was little and she got them from our corner grocery store. They used currants or raisins and the frosting was tangy with lemon. But when that little store expanded and moved farther up the road into their new digs, she started getting them at the local supermarket. They used candied fruit and their icing was just plain old sweet. Ick.
This year I have gotten braver about baking with yeast, so I tried my hand at making them myself. I used this recipe: Hot Cross Buns Recipe and it worked great. I wish I’d taken a picture of them before they’d been devoured, but they were pretty close to the picture of the ones in the recipe. Gotta love an egg wash! Just as well, I suppose, since my icing wasn’t as pretty, because I used a baggie as a piping bag and partway thru the process it “popped” and made a…MUCH bigger opening.
Today, I have to shop for Easter dinner. How I wish my grandmother was still here to cook one of her amazing family dinners. She always made it look effortless. And it always turned out delicious. Another grandmother opened my mind one Easter. My high school boyfriend was Ukranian and one Easter we spent it with his family in a tiny Ukranian enclave in Apopka, Florida. I remember the food fondly. It had been packed into baskets by his grandmother and blessed at the church before we trooped back home to eat. Locally made kielbasa, boiled eggs, deeply brown honey bread, boiled new potatoes with tons of butter, and beet horseradish to accompany. There was more: a roasted chicken from the coop out back, some fresh peas, small, spicy, not-too-sweet cookies, and enough to make the table groan under the weight of it all. I wish I could remember all of it, but far too much time has passed since that day. His grandmother died last year, so perhaps I should plan my menu to pay homage to her this year. I think she’d appreciate knowing she made an impression on a silly 17 year old girl who was foolish enough to accept an invitation to a family celebration almost 20 years ago.
Off to make a shopping list. Ah! There’s a tip…ALWAYS, ALWAYS make a list before going to the grocery store. Not only will you not leave without the one thing you ran in for, it will save you money if you can stick to it.