Growing-up I was fortunate to have two grandmothers who cooked and baked like pros. Though they had different inspirations for their culinary creations, they always came-up with some unique foods.
Not to choose a favourite, but Rose-Annette (my Dad’s mother) could create massive amounts of flavourful foods on a shoe-string budget. It was by necessity as she had 11 kids and my grandfather to feed. She was lucky since she had at her disposal a large farm with cows, pigs & chickens and a very bountiful garden (where they grew: carrots, potatoes, peas, lettuce, cucumbers, broccoli and more). I remember like it was yesterday… while visiting my grandparents for our annual summer vacation we would get up in the morning and run to the chicken coop to pick-up all of the eggs (we did find it odd and quite interesting at the same time that every morning there was new eggs). Another fond memory was being asked to go to the garden to pick ingredients we needed for the next meal. Grandma was always open to any of the grandkids to help out in the kitchen.
In the late 80’s Rose-Annette gave me a cookbook that she had participated in writing with her “Cercle des Fermieres” friends. This group is one of the oldest women’s social clubs in Quebec. I knew even at that age that this would be one of my go-to cookbooks. Practically all of the recipes in the book are made with ingredients you have in the pantry already.
One of my favorite recipes from this book is the Fruit Salad Cake, it’s simple and everyone loves loves it! My mom also made this cake when we were kids. Here is the recipe:
Fruit Salad Cake
Put the oven at 325 degrees
2 eggs lightly beaten 2 cups fruit salad ( 1.5 cups sugar 2 cups flour (cake flour works best) 2 tsp. baking soda ¼ tps. salt
Mix all of the above together, then poor into a lightly buttered glass or Pyrex dish (8”x8”)
½ cup brown sugar ½ cup pecans, walnuts or almonds (this is optional)
Mix brown sugar and nuts and sprinkle evenly over top of the cake batter.
Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 45 minutes.
½ cup butter 2/3 cup milk or 10% cream ¾ cup brown sugar 1 tsp. vanilla
Mix all of the above icing ingredients in a small sauce pan, cook over medium heat and allow it to boil for 2 minutes. This icing is to be poured over the cooled cake.
I know that I’m sometimes guilty of being on the look-out for new recipes… but sometimes taking a moment and looking through old cookbooks you can find gems, which you can tweak to make them your own. You will be creating a new family favourite to be shared with the next generation of Foodies.
As always, If you have cooking or baking questions that you would like me to answer in this column, please send them to email@example.com or drop by for a chat at the Love Love Food store located at 10 Fourth St. East, Unit B, Cornwall, ON.