In the olden days…

…and it’s another Fight Back Friday!

I can admit it. I was one of those girls who read “Little House in the Big Woods” and all that followed. I was fascinated by the “olden days” as I was known to call them.

I was pretty amazed by the fact that my Grammy was born in 1912! That was a LONG time ago. Keeping in mind I was like 10 – and that would make it the early 1970’s!

What was even more mind blowing was the fact that my great-grandma – referred to as GG on notes in my Mom’s things – (my Grandpa’s mother) was born in 1889. Dang – that was really a long time ago!

Even at a pretty young age I was trying to fathom the thought of doing things “the old fashioned way” or sometimes known as “the more comlicated” or “harder” way of doing things – just because the results were – well – amazing!

There was never a formal education of Dina about my great-grandmother – it was snippets of conversation over prep for a family dinner, for the most part, when I learned things like, “And she would always put up all of her own pickles, sauerkraut, jams and jellies – every year!” or “And she insisted on the freshest ingredients… she was known to go out to the hen house and collect eggs to make sure they were fresh enough!”

I learned that she loved people.

That she truly enjoyed cooking – even though she cooked for a living.

And that she took great delight in blessing people with a meal that was more than just memorable.

My Grammy and my Mom probably didn’t realize they were encouraging me to be a Food Renegade – but they were.

Going to baking school, and then internships at the old Rose’s in NW Portland and Beaverton Bakery kinda sealed the deal. I loved the statement on the wall of the Rose’s bakery on NW 20th that offered no apology for using the highest quality real butter, cream, chocolate, and old fashioned methods to produce their products.

Learning that a little more complicated sometimes wrought results that were enough to rock your world kinda got me hooked on opting out of the prepared, pre-packaged, eat it in the car culture that my generation was embracing.


[Lora Opal Gatton White and Carl Leslie White – my great-grandparents, with their grandchildren.]

To that end, I’ve taken much delight in finding GG’s old recipes. I am fortunate enough to be the recipient of them. More than a little heartbreaking, the fact that my Mom and Grammy aren’t here to impart their memories about them, or hints and insights regarding them. Sadly – they are scattered – through bins and boxes and folders that Mom had put away – probably with a grand plan in mind to get them organized (and likely into a scrapbook! – if you knew Mom, you’re laughing out loud right now!) one day.

In the past few weeks we’ve been trying to get more organized – to try and consolidate some of the treasures, and deal with stuff that was to have been my “project” for the summer last year. Yeah, then I got sick…. and all of those plans pretty much went far, far away!

Imagine my thrill and delight when I came across this:

It’s GG’s recipe box! How cool is that?!

Honestly – too cool for words.

I wish I could say to you, “And since then I’ve gone through and chronicled what I’m going to make first, second, third…” but I can’t. I had to go back to work this week, and well, most of my energy has been directed toward just surviving.

BUT – I have plans, people!

Big plans!

I’m gonna go through GG’s recipes (I found a couple of folders, too!) and find some gems to share with you.

I promise!

In the meantime – I’m gonna share one little find, just to give you something to play with.

I will tell you that GG and Grammy both loved candy. And I remember more than once Grammy confiding in me that GG made the most amazing candy.

I love that.

I mean – hello?! – have you read the ingredients on any of the candy that’s passed your lips in recent months? SCARY!

So – without further ado – and admittedly – without having tested it myself, only with the memory of Grammy raving over this particular recipe – is GG’s Caramel Candy.

Caramel Candy

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 lump of butter (the size of a good sized egg)

Optional: nut meats

Put 2 cups sugar in boiler, add 1 cup of milk, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and butter and let cook.

At the same time, put 1 cup of sugar in a skillet and let brown. When brown, pour into boiling mixture. Let cook until it forms a soft ball in water.

Beat well.

Add nut meats, if preferred.

That’s it!



And yummy.

Isn’t being a Food Renegade a wonderful thing?! J

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