Sunday, 14 June 2015

What did Your Grandma cook?

I saw this question on a facebook thread recently and it was a great conversation starter.

There were hundreds of answers ranging from tomato sauce sandwiches to apple pies, roast dinners, pavlovas, banana & passionfruit on toast, pasties and yorkshire puddings, scones and melting moments.

I don't remember much cooking from my grandmothers: one lived in New Zealand and died when I was about eight. I know I have eaten Nanna Violet's recipes as cooked by Mum but I don't know which recipes were handed down that way. Golden syrup dumplings, I think and chocolate steamed pudding. Cornish pasties maybe?

My other grandmother had a major stroke, also around the time I was eight. She continued to cook a little bit but it wasn't like she was making dinners for the grandchildren. I learned about the recipes Grandma was proud of, though. Apple pie, baked apples, apricot chicken and the smoothest most delicious custard were all part of the lore around grandma Ruby.

I asked my kids what they will remember their grandma cooking and the answers were quite extensive: shortbread, anzac biscuits, pizza on Turkish bread (a lunch special in school holidays), baked dinners and pavlova. I  remember my mum feeding my kids scrambled egg and cheese on toast when they were very young and their paternal grandmother made rice porridge for at least one of them.

Isn't it interesting that nearly every food I have mentioned, from my own family and from the facebook group, are comfort foods. There are no fancy foods to be seen (unless you count pavlova as fancy)

What do you remember from your Grandma's kitchen?


  1. I never knew either Grandmother, so have to pass (or any other relatives). Comfort food has a lot of charm though. Lots of flavour and no pretention. And usually no preservatives or unknown ingredients either.

  2. EC,
    Do you have a favourite comfort food?

  3. It changes with the season. And my energy levels. Hot chocolate often. Home made minestone soup.

  4. The earliet memory I have of my paternal grandmother's cooking is of ordinary daily fare. This was when I had been taken by her and my grandfather to spend a few days with them when I would have been about four or so. Subsequently, she came back in to our lives when she was much older and quite feeble and could not cook. She would help my mother with the chopping of vegetables etc, but could not cook. I cannot really remember anything special about her cooking. I never saw my maternal grandmother who had died before my parents got married.

  5. We would visit my grandmother every summer and I can remember her cooking just about everything. The things that stand out were fish (especially walleye) and game (pheasant) that my uncles would have caught/hunted. Oh yeah, and her fresh rhubarb pie!

  6. EC, they are both great comfort foods!

  7. Ramana,
    As I wrote this I was thinking that your list, if you had one, would look very different to the ones I read

  8. Overnight another one popped into my head. Baked rice pudding. It is a very long time since I have had it though.

  9. My granny was Irish and my Grandfather was Scots so everything was eggs, meat and potatoes.

  10. I can't remember what my grandma's usual dishes were. All I can recall is that she served huge quantities of mashed potato with everything. Very good mashed potato it was too, with butter and all sorts of seasonings.

  11. I can't remember what my grandma's usual dishes were. All I can recall is that she served huge quantities of mashed potato with everything. Very good mashed potato it was too, with butter and all sorts of seasonings.

  12. My grandmother cooked roast beef every Sunday and cooked oven roasted potatoes and carrots with it. She made the best cornbread in the world, and made outstanding chicken and dumplings. She was not much of a baker so dessert at her house was always neopolitan ice cream. I spent a lot of time at her house as a kid and teenager and love to think about eating on her back porch in the summertime with all kinds of fresh veggies and thick slices of tomatoes

  13. Anne,
    that's all good honest food! mouth watering to think about.

    neapolitan ice cream was unheard of in my childhood home, we had lots of great desserts but that three-coloured ice cream looked like the most sophisticated thing ever!

  14. Kia ora Kylie...
    Hope all is well. I was just cruising on past and stopped in to say hello. My grandma was from Germany, a somewhat taciturn woman but she could cook! The dish I recall best was something she called City Chicken..which was not chicken at all but rather breaded veal and pork on skewers and cooked in the oven with some sort of sauce. The aroma was out of this world! She lived to be 103...

  15. Robb,
    Things are motoring along nicely here, thanks.
    City Chicken sounds delicious! i wonder how it got that name. Was there strudel as well?


  16. I grew up with what's called Southern cooking here in the States. I therefore ate a lot of grits, fried chicken, fried fish, white rice, boiled greens, fried okra, black-eyes peas, cornbread, biscuits, and sweetened ice tea. My favorite desserts were—and still are—lemon meringue pie and banana pudding made with vanilla wafers.

    I wish you would post more because I start to feel out of touch and even to worry.

  17. Snow,
    I'm sorry to worry you!
    I dont know anything about banana pudding made with vanilla wafers but it sounds good :)
    I have some okra here that I bought because a friend told me it's good for arthritis but i havent cooked it, it's quite unfamiliar to me and I dont think about it. I must get to doing that.....

  18. You crosscut the bananas and layer them with a box of vanilla wafers in a deep, two-quart casserole. Then make a double recipe of vanilla pudding and pour it over the bananas and wafers while still hot. Put meringue on top and bake just long enough to slightly brown the meringue.


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