I promised heirloom recipes on Mondays, but as it turn out, its difficult to get my heirloom recipe source (my mother) to cough up the goods on short notice. In her brain (and nowhere else anymore) are the recipes for the perogen made from leftover brisket, the orange sponge cake with orange glaze, the rolled coffee “kuchen” with nuts and cinnamon, butterbean soup, farfel, noodles and fried cabbage, blintzes, potato pancakes, fudge, matzoh brei, the baked beans made by my Ohio Jewish grandmother, and the baked beans, pecan squares, apple pie, Indian Pudding, Boiled Dinner and probably more things that I can’t even remember made by my New England Catholic grandmother. My brother knows how to make my grandmother’s matzoh balls, but he is (irritatingly) seeing patients who might not understand if he left them sitting on the examining table while he dictated the recipe for “sinkers” to his sister.
So tonight I have nothing but memories. I remember sitting at my grandmother’s Passover table in Ashtabula, Ohio at the age of 8 or 9, after the readings from the Haggadah, the hard-boiled eggs, salt water, bitter herb, gefilte fish (none for me), matzohs, charoses and a dinner of brisket, tszimmes, farfel, and dessert. I remember laughing so hard at something funny that my Uncle Murray said that I laughed until “kashi” came out of my nose and sprayed the immaculate white tablecloth. “Kashi” was the mixture of a thimbleful of coffee with lashings of cream and sugar that my grandmother fixed me after she asked me to “come sit by her” after dinner to listen to the grownups talk while my grandmother and her sisters shaved wafer-thin slices of cake and consumed them with coffee, always insisting that they were “just having a sliver.”
At my other grandmother’s house in Providence, Rhode Island, I remember making pie with Grammie Graham. We made dough, rolled it out, peeled and cut the apples, and she always had a tiny pie tin that was mine, which I filled with a scrap of dough sprinkled with cinnamon sugar from a shaker. She also made corn-meal mush which was okay the first time around, but absolutely transcendent after a night in the refrigerator rolled into a log in wax paper, sliced, fried in butter in a cast-iron skillet and served with real maple syrup. It works well with leftover grits, too.
So I have nothing for you today in the way of actual recipes, but perhaps I have given you a hint at what’s available in the family archives if only someone will SHARE for goodness’ sake….