I looked for the sponge cake recipe in the Better Homes & Garden cookbook. There are a couple of cake recipes and several of lemon filling. I have to guess which one my grandmother made.
The kitchen. It had no counter space at all – but there was a table. Granny’s mixer was white, I don’t know what brand but similar to my KitchenAid Stand Mixer. My mother’s was very different. Granny’s seemed so much more substantial. I think part of the reason why I bought mine (only a couple of years ago) was because it looked like hers. I loved looking at the illustrations in the cookbook, mommies and children baking or cooking together. I loved looking at Granny and Gladys bake.
Other things I associate with them:
-Quaker oats – which we simply called “cuak-ehr”. My mother made it too, but Granny’s tasted better.
-Cinnamon toast – bread with butter, sugar & cinnamon toasted.
-Home made maple & caramel ice cream. I thought of Granny’s small bottle of maple essence as a treasure. She had brought it from the States, I think you couldn’t find it in Argentina. Specially back then, when tariffs were still high and very few imported products made it through. Later, during the years of the plata dulce, import barriers were put down and lots of cheapish imported products began to appear everywhere. But that was after Granny died. And I doubt that maple extract would be one of those products.
Granny and Gladys had not been to America for a long time – I think their last trip was in the 60’s (I was born in ’69 and I’m pretty sure they didn’t go back while I was around). Those bottles must have been quite old.
We ate the maple or caramel ice cream (I liked the former better) with chopped walnuts. I’m pretty sure that the walnuts came whole. I liked it very much.
–Puré con espinaca. This was mashed potatoes mixed with chopped spinach. I hated the dish. My parents, in particular, made a disgusting version – they’d put the mashed potatoes & spinach in the blender until they had a green goo. Then they’d force us to eat it. No wonder we don’t eat vegetables to this day. Granny wouldn’t blend it and she’d serve it with Parmesan cheese – which would make it better. But I think I ate it because it’s more difficult to be disobedient to people other than your parents.
In later years, when I lived with Gladys, she’d make me steak with a tomato sauce that I really liked and home made pizza. It was sooo good.
Granny would also make choucroute – yet another dish that I only liked because I associated it with. Once, when I was 8, I had it at a restaurant in Patagonia. I didn’t like it at all.
And biscuits. Biscuits with mid-afternoon tea. Biscuits and not scones, because they were fluffier, I think. I forgot what the difference is – ones have butter or milk and the others don’t, or something like that. Scones, escones, were eaten in Argentina, but at Granny’s house they were usually biscuits. Butter and strawberry jam. Strawberry jam was expensive – my parents usually bought the cheaper kids: plum, peach, orange. I didn’t really like them.
To this day, I get together with my friends for tea, and my favorite part are always the scones with butter and jam (no biscuits here).
I have Granny’s milk pot and her tea strainer. I have the beautiful tea cups that were reserved for very special occasions. Well, I own them, I left them with my mother because I know I’d damage them. I have a tea pot and a bunch of china in a suitcase. I brought them from Argentina, but again, I’m afraid to break them. I have her measuring spoons and cups – and the kitchen timer. That, the timer, I use all the time because I don’t have another one. And I have her egg beater. Some wall decorations as well. My mother is sending me some other stuff I brought from there.
I should use her measuring cups and spoons when I make this sponge cake. But I won’t.