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.


  1. Wow! What an amazing Grandma you have. It sounds like you have a lot of her talents; great writer, fabulous cook, wonderful friend, just to name a few.

  2. Cindy as usual you are too nice!!

  3. Oh Eden, I just read this post, and the fruitcake one too. So fun! Love to read about your fam. Cindy is right. You share many of your grans talents. love you.