Posts Tagged ‘Baking from Scratch’

In my childhood, sweets were not as readily available as they are today. One of my pleasant memories is of getting to lick the bowl after someone had mixed up a cake or a batch of cookies. Today, as I was beating some batter, I remembered a time a few years ago when my grandson Tristan was visiting. One day I made a cake. As I was pouring the batter into the pan, I asked him, “Who should I be today? Grandma Masters or Grandma Rogers?”

You see, my grandmothers were quite different individuals, but there were lessons to be learned from each. Both were strong women who reared their families during the Great Depression and made sacrifices during World War II.

Grandma Masters was French Canadian, one of 11 children who grew up on a farm. She once told me that when she was a child she had only one dress. On washday, she had to hide in a corner until it was clean and dry. Life was more comfortable after she married my grandfather, a factory worker, but they still had to be frugal. During the war when sugar was rationed, they used saccharine in their coffee. After the war, they continued this habit for the rest of their lives. Grandma Masters was also very clean and I swear you could eat off her floor. It was not surprising, then, that after she finished making cookies, she would scrape the bowl so clean it hardly needed to be washed. There was little left for an eager child to lick.

Grandma Rogers was one of two surviving children whose father was a wall paper hanger. She did not suffer as much privation as a child, but she married a farmer and the Depression hit them hard. She never talked much about the war when her only surviving son was a soldier in the Pacific theater. I can only imagine her anguish. She, too, was not one to waste anything, but when she finished a bowl, she would leave a satisfying amount of batter in it. I don’t know if it was because her arthritis made it harder for her to scrape the bowl clean, or if she was only trying to please a treasured grandchild.

Anyway, I briefly explained to Tristan the differences between my two grandmothers. Again I asked him which one he wanted me to be that day. Not surprisingly, he chose Grandma Rogers. I obliged him and left a generous amount in the bowl for him.

Today as I poured my batter, with no grandchild in attendance, I declared, “I should be Grandma Masters today.” Actually though, my performance fell short. Scrape though I might, I still had to wash the bowl.

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Bonnie T. Ogle

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