Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Of Food & Thought - Grandma Pinnock

My Grandma Pinnock was amazing. She was a formidable person, but also funny and delightful. She worked hard for her family, for her church and was a woman before her time. She graduated from college back when women didn't even go to college. She taught cooking and other classes. She wrote and wrote and wrote. She was a member of the Young Women's General Board of the LDS church for more than three decades and traveled from Africa to Asia during that time. Let me tell you you didn't slouch around her!

She also wrote a cookbook in 1965 that was published by the Deseret Book Company called Of Food and Thought. She wrote articles for The Improvement Era magazine and many of the articles are in the book. She ruminates on traditions, feeding the "royalty" that is family and has simple motivational stories and poems. She believed in the power of good food to nourish body and spirit and tie families together. She was famous. I remember when my violin teacher in 1975 found out that I was the granddaughter of Florence Boden Pinnock, she gushed about how she always used her cookbook and would read the articles while she waited for whatever she had created to cook. I found it startling that the woman even knew her.

I can't really separate my Grandmother from food. In fact my first real food memory is Thanksgiving Dinner at her home. It was an event. She had beautiful china and dishes and every place was set.  I sat with cousins my age and felt grown-up even at the kid table. She had just a simple galley kitchen by the time I knew her, but the food it could produce--oh my!  I remember watching her push pats of butter deep into silky roll dough just before she baked it. I also remember thinking that her food was the culmination of all that was good in the world (of course others contributed to the menu and my mother is known far and wide for her cooking skills).

After Thanksgiving Dinner all at least 23 relatives and often more guests would retire to the large basement family room. I remember we would all lay down on the floor and talk and eventually more than a few would fall asleep. My grandpa snored like a freight train and his belly would shake just a little. He was funny even when he slept.  In that room with people I've loved all my life, I think that I developed a true sense of family and security!

I've been reading her book and am finding myself quite nostalgic and missing her. I've always used her chili and rolls recipes, but not much else. So, I've decided to make my way through the book. I think I will skip the deviled egg casserole--but maybe not--it could just be what the doctor ordered (although not the Cardiologist!). They are wonderfully old-fashioned and sometimes outright funny.

So today I turned to the Chapter labeled "November" and cooked.

Baked Ham with Citrus Sauce

She writes, "Just the right sauce can raise and ordinary meal to a gourmet's delight. Use care in choosing the sauce for the "gander," or any other bird, meat, vegetable, fruit, or desert. Try some of the following saucy sauces--your meals will have zest."

Citrus Sauce

1 can mandarin oranges                  1 T cornstarch
1 13 1/2 oz can pineapple chunks   1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t cardamon
1/2 t nutmeg

Drain the oranges and pineapple. Reserve the liquid. Combine cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom.  Add orange and pineapple liquid.  Cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Fold in oranges and pineapple and heat through. Serve hot with ham slices.

Here's the skinny--

Crushed pineapple is better and don't fold in the fruit. I think it works better as a sauce with the fruit broken down a bit. I also found the sauce too sour and added a 1/3 cup brown sugar. It was still tart, but not so tart my kids wouldn't eat it. I also think it would be a great sauce on pancakes or waffles or even a filling in a white cake! It was yummy--old fashiony yummy.

I paired the ham with my own sour cream baked mashed potatoes and my Grandma's veg medely --which is just defrosted Frenched beans and peas fried with onions in butter with salt and pepper (I added garlic for a little kick).  My Grandma does love butter.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Patience Is Not My Virtue


That is what my life is all about at the moment; waiting. There are exciting things just around the corner, but at the moment it's all about passing time. Hopefully not wasting time. I find that when I have a lot on my mind, but not a lot of ability to do anything about it, I get a little stymied, okay immobilized, no really it is more like paralyzed! Here are my solutions.

Eat chocolate - I have eaten a lot of chocolate over the last couple of weeks. Yes, the sugar devil is back (although it is 10 am and I have not had any sugar yet this morning - Yea!).

Join Twitter - I haven't tweeted yet, but I am building up my courage. I am enjoying other people's tweets though. I just learned that you should capitalize Twitter (proper noun) but not tweet (can be used as a verb and/or noun).

Take long walks in the beautiful Olympus Cove. It smells all piny and has been incredibly lovely this fall. I also love the architecture. There is a lot of very modern homes and the landscaping is unusual as well. They've really blended into the hill and there are only a few McMansions in my area.

Practice cello - My son has taken up Suzuki cello. That takes up time and also includes double tasking by letting me spend quality time with my son! Go cello.

Type aimless things into Google Search - Like, “Is there anybody out there?”  Well there's the Pink Floyd song, a website that lets you type in existential questions and a whole heck of a lot of people looking for ET.

There’s my sister-in-laws blog – If only she posted every day instead of Mon-Wed-Thurs. Here's the link Brodi Ashton.  She's also sold her first book - or in actuality a trilogy called the Ever'neath. I am so excited I've put her on a Google Alert so I get all the news. Yes, that means I am stalking my sister-in-law.

Check my bank account - Not empty, not full.

Check my children’s grades - Could be better – could be worse.

Avoid thinking - This I do in very creative ways and is a very large category.

Ways To Avoid Thinking

     1. Paint nails - I've painted my nails for the first time in years. I even pushed back my cuticles and moisturized them.

     2. See movies - often! At least once a week, hopefully more. I loved The Social Network by the way. Also does it seem like there are an awful lot of movies about old, retired, crazy, dishonored, disheveled, cast- out spies these days. Like, The Replacements, The A-Team, RED, The Expendables. Well I've seen all of those (Except The Expendables - that didn't stay in theaters long enough).

     3. Compartmentalize - I work out in the morning hard and then eat chocolate. They are totally separate. Food - exercise how are they related again?  When I have something that I have to do I just pretend that I don't know that I have to do it. I do it anyway, but I didn't have to think about it so it isn't painful. 150 cookies for the Halloween Party - not me, until 9:00pm the night before and they magically get done!

     4.  Watch every new show of the fall season (and every old show)! That does wonders - 3 hours can pass by in nothing flat. By the way, I love The Good Wife. I could watch Julianna Margulies forever. Just her eyebrows entrance me!  I've also discovered "On Demand" with Comcast. I can watch so many more shows - like Law and Order: UK. Did you hear me LAW AND ORDER: UK. There can never be enough Law and Order period.

I hope you endure waiting with more grace than me. If you have an idea, please let me know.