Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Little Slice of Love

Many times certain smells and foods remind us of our loved ones who are no longer with us.  I love to hear stories of people with Italian, Polish or Cuban grandparents that "spent all day cooking multi-course meals for the family and neighbors" on any random Sunday.  My Gram was not one of these people.  She was a Murphy.  Now don't get all offended me lads and lassies, but it's no secret that the Irish are not exactly known for their fine cuisine.  My Gram was far from a bad cook, but our meals like many other suburbanites in the '70's were pretty ordinary.   She did however have a few standouts.  Things that only Gram could make the way we liked it.  Probably the most famous is her Apple Pie.  I'm not much of a pie eater, and even less of a baker but lucky for the rest of the family Nelsy has managed to pull it off.  Gram and Nels always had a mutual fondness for each other and so it seems she had bequeathed to him, the gift of pie.  Don't get me wrong, he was born with the pie gene (my mother in law is the pie master).  But still.  One of her other specialties was Scalloped Potatoes.  My kids LOVE when I make them and we talk about Gram over every meal they they appear at.  It makes us all feel warm and fuzzy, like we were able to have her over for dinner just one more time. 
Awww, here we are on my wedding day!  She's so cute, and I really miss the o'll gal.  It was nothing short of the perfect idea that Nelsy had to make another of Gram's specialties for breakfast on Mother's Day.  Coffee Cake.  She was really good at coffee cake.
Her hand written recipe on hand, Phoebe and Rob did a fantastic job of bringing Gram to the table once again.  My mother in law insists on having recipes hand written by the person passing them on, and I think it's a very wise tradition.  Even her recipe box in Oregon has a couple of Gram's handwritten recipes in it (almost forgot about the banana bread!).  I recommend doing this when you can (these days we are always e-mailing and photo copying but they are really nice reminders when you're cooking with love).
Hayden said to me at breakfast, "Did Gram ever make this for you?"  "All the time!" I said.  "But was is ever this good?" he asked. "Every time!" I said.  If you'll notice the upper right of the card says V.G., that was Gram code for very good.  And so it is.

Gram's Coffee Cake

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter (1/4 lb)
1 tsp lemon juice
2 cups flour
1/2 pt sour cream
1 heaping tsp baking powder
1level tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar (it says optional but I'm sure she used it)

Place 1/2 the batter in a greased angel food pan, then half the nut mixture.  Repeat with remaining batter and nut mixture.  Bake at 350 for 45 min.  "Do not use cooking spray! In a baking tin Crisco
is best".

Mother's day breakfast, I swear you could taste the love!  And these berries were a fine addition too!


  1. looks absolutely delicious <3

    dunno why it put me as unknown...?

  2. I'm not sure...who are you?

  3. Haha- V.G- love it. My gram used to write "best" on it if it was her fave. This made me nostalgic to all of her hand written recipes- and that I should do the same for my kids, if they ever get the cooking gene like my brothers did. :-) Now I want to go raid my mom's recipes.
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. AND- I will have to try this to remember the sweet Ethel and Al. xo