This is a picture of a cookbook called Home and Away from Home that belonged to my grandmother. The book dates to 1970 and was a self-published fundraising item for a ladies’ group from Marshfield, Massachusetts.
As I page through, I get a kick from the old ads for long-gone businesses and the off-the-wall recipes for things like “Seven-Can Casserole.” But I also see handwritten flags to mark things that caught my grandmother’s eye--like this recipe for blueberry cobber that Mrs. Charles Broadbent submitted to the cookbook--and the words my grandmother underlined--like Thanksgiving in a recipe for cranberry-cornbread stuffing. (Just had a flash of that scene in Heathers when Christian Slater underlines the word Eskimo in Moby Dick.)
And those flags with the scripty old-lady handwriting in pencil! (Nobody writes that way anymore.) She certainly predated Post-Its, but I doubt she’d ever use them even if they were available to her. These flags are cut-up pieces of old grocery lists. She used to wash, air-dry, and reuse aluminum foil and Ziploc bags--why not reuse paper?
You see, she had what others called a “Depression-era mentality.” To which she would say, “You kids wouldn’t be able to live through the Depression. You wouldn’t know what to do with a goat!” Yes…a goat, whose milk my grandmother administered to her children as a cure-all for every possible ailment. This, I’ve been told, was the advice she got from a “doctor.”
To this day my mother scrunches up her face and shudders as if she just downed a shot of the nastiest, booziest booze in the world at the mention of—shock, horror—goat cheese. The memory of having cow’s milk swapped with goat’s milk is still too close to the surface, I guess. (Funnily enough, my mother tried the same stunt when my brother and I were kids by replacing chicken cutlets with pork cutlets. Yeah…like we couldn’t figure that one out.)