Sunday, April 17, 2011

Family Recipes: Part II

 In a second series of embroidered pieces containing family recipes, I used yet more recipes from my Grandma Blanche's recipe books.  Some of the recipes are odd; who would need a recipe for making cheese toast?  Here again, I translated all the marks on the page onto the cloth, all punctuation, underlines and page breaks, but I made each piece the size of a recipe card. Each recipe is then approximately life size.

With this second series, I embroidered the pieces on two layers of discharge silkscreen printed cotton organdy.  (Discharge being a printing paste containing a chemical that strips the colour from the cloth). Of course you can barely see the print on the pale yellow organdy.

My Grandma Jean was not a domestic doyenne, though she had five children and ran an efficient household.  She was much more interested in the outdoors and intellectual pursuits.  She prefered extremely simple cooking.  I remember once she had made Date Surprise Muffins - the surprise being, she said, "I was too lazy to chop the dates, so I poked a date into the middle of each muffin.  Be careful of the pits".  

However, she did have a small repertoire of famous baked goods - waffles, molasses cookies and square bales in particular.  See above her recipe for molasses cookies written in her perfect school teacher script.  These are a drop cookie, soft, cakey and chewy. Molasses was a favourite of my grandfather - he liked to put blackstrap on his oatmeal.


Grandma Jean liked to give imaginative names to different foods - perhaps a way of convincing my father, his two sisters and two brothers to eat their meals.  Cream of wheat was Snow Porridge, cornmeal porridge was Sun Porridge.  Square Bales were simply brown sugar oat squares, but living in the rural setting of our family farm, where hay and straw were taken off the fields every year, the name Square Bales  seems more romantic and appropriate. 


  1. Those embroidered family recipes are so wonderful. What a way to honour the loving cooks that came before you!

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