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Friday, February 27, 2009

Foodie Friday, Hooked On Houses Party, and Last Chance for my Giveaway!

Click here for more Foodie Fun, thanks to Gollum!
************************And click here to link to Hooked On Houses Friday Blog Party,
hosted by the amazing Julia.

That Old House is a mixed bag today: Foodie Friday -- Hooked On Houses Blog Party -- Odds & Ends -- and a last chance for anyone to enter my Giveaway for a
Johnson Bros.
gravy boat:

Click here!

Catching up on some Odds & Ends, down below, but first... for Foodie Friday, the recipe for Grandma Cake. You will thank me, yes you will, as this cake elevates the simple to the sublime. It is just pure goodness. And it's even better a teensy bit stale.

Grandma Cake... recipe and a little background!

My grandmother was born in Norway in 1875, and grew up in a house that dated back to Viking days. She lived until I was in college, and she was nearly 100. She'd wanted to make that century mark, but she didn't get her way on that one, although she did on nearly everything else in her life.

She raised 7 children in New York City, in a big house on the rich farmland where JFK Airport now stands. My father is her youngest, and he is nearly 89.

She was a remarkable woman,
Margrethe Olave Eskeland Lindtveit.

She could draw sewing patterns freehand, sewed all the clothes for her big family, including coats and men's shirts, knitted like a machine, crocheted, tatted, and, until they rotted apart from age and sunlight, a set of Hardanger curtains she made as a young bride hung in my family's dining room.

She had the greenest thumb this side of Eden, skipped lunch to afford fresh flowers, was barely 5-feet tall, opinionated, smart, determined, and she scared her family witless. Not one of your pushover grandmothers, my Grandma.

She walked barefoot in the morning dew 3 seasons of the year, had long glossy brilliant white hair that she washed in an enamel dishpan with a bar of coal tar soap and then dried outside, in the sunshine, the hair streaming down her back; to my sister and me she looked like an aging enchanted princess.

She loved boats and fishing and her husband Gunvald devotedly (and probably equally), could gut a fish and pan fry it to perfection, baked the flakiest piecrust, and made a bundt-style cake that is the best food, ever, anywhere on the planet.

She gave that recipe to my mother, least loathed of her daughters-in-law, and my mother promised to pass it on to me. She never did. When Mom sank into Alzheimer's, I figured the recipe for Grandma Cake was lost forever.

But recently my sister Peggy handed my mother's recipe box to me:

Lo and behold, there it was, right in front . . . the Holy Grail:

I love how my Mom wrote "Serves 12 - 15."
What family was she thinking of?

If you click on the picture, the recipe will greatly enlarge and you can easily read it. I love that it's in my Mom's distinctive handwriting. But, in case you have trouble deciphering it, here is the recipe:

3 cups flour (unbleached)
1 cup sugar

1-1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. mace
a pinch of salt

1 cup butter (no margarine; Grandma will rise up and sm
ite you!)
3 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp. pure vanilla

Mix all the above thoroughly and beat at high speed for 3 to 4 minutes. Bake at 350 for approx. 1 hour.

(It's not written down, as you are clearly just supposed to know that the cake batter goes into a greased bundt or tube pan before y
ou put it in the oven!)

This is not a fine-grained pound cake; it has a rather coar
se crumb, and the outside gets quite dark and caramelized looking and as the cake ages a day or two the "crust" gets a bit of a crunch to it. Oh my. I may have to bake this. I don't bake anymore because Howard and I aren't eating sugary things. I may have to make an exception. Please let me know if you try it!
Update... I made the Grandma Cake ... Yum
Pics and story here!
And now for those Odds & Ends...

You know that I am hooked on That Old House, and a bit obsessive about getting it "just right." If you remember my powder room metamorphosis, I asked for opinions on curtain fabric, and most of you thought "toile" and some even said, "black and white toile." Methinks you were right!

I just happened to have a sample of a cream and black toile, so up it went on the window frame with a piece of trusty blue tape. I liked it:

Then I remembered a toile I bought 2 years ago at WalMart for $1.00 a yard.
Yes, ladies and maybe a gent or two, that's $1.00 a yard.

(Pardon the wrinkles! It was stuffed in a drawer.)

This isn't your quality toile, no fancy name on the selvedge, but it is already mine, and there is enough for a nice full swag on the powder room window. Free is good.

And there it is, taped up, and dragging down the wall.
(When I find something nice for a buck a yard, I splurge. I bought a lot.)

So what do you think?

It's thin, but I'll line it. I think it will do just fine.
Stay tuned for the "after" pictures!

And speaking of befores & afters. . . I used a red and white tureen in yesterday's Tablescape Thursday post, and before I put it back on top of
Grandma's china cabinet . . .

...(yes, that very same Grandma)...

I thought it might look good on my nearly-nekkid sideboard:

Hey, it's a start.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone! I will announce the
winner of the gravy boat tomorrow morning (Saturday).
Not too early. . . .


  1. What a wonderful story about your grandmother. She sounds like she was a remarkable woman. Thank you for sharing with us!

  2. Wow! You have a beautiful home!

    I really enjoyed hearing about your grandmother. It seems that women were so different in those days. Maybe not necessarily better, but different. Thank you for sharing!

  3. What a wonderful post. I enjoyed this so much, memories like these are love embodied. I will try this cake recipe, copied and pasted it in my recipe file. Thanks so much for sharing.

  4. Oh I so love family history and recipes. Your grandma sounds like she was quite the lady. I can't wait to make the cake. As for the toile, I think the fabric you have from Walmart looks great. I'm all for using what you have. Great post, I really enjoyed it. Hugs, Marty

  5. This is a treasure. Oh, to have my grandmother's recipe box. I do the same thing with fabric :-). It's the only way to play.:-)
    Great post!

  6. Your home is beautiful! I really enjoyed your post.

    Your grandmother sounds like a character out of a book..maybe you should write one. :) The cake sounds delicious. The texture sounds intriguing. It's always more fun when something is a little chewy.

  7. That recipe is a treasure for sure! I may just try it.
    I'm intrigued that your mother was the "least loathed"...I'd like to hear more about that!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  8. Thanks for catching my error...I used limeade, not lemonade like the original recipe called for... that one sure snuck by me...
    Thanks again and enjoy your weekend

  9. This is such a lovely post. A lot of sweet memories, great recipe and wonderful photos. Thanks for sharing and encouraging me on my blog. Best wishes :)

  10. My grandmother showed me a few of her special recipe's but....alas.....I'm afraid her recipe's no longer exist except in our memories :)

  11. Love your 'Grandmother story', makes me miss both my Grandmas.Love your music selection, too.

  12. I really enjoyed reading about your grandmother. Did you call her Bedstmor? My Great Dane is Bedstefar to our two grands.
    Where to start? First, I shall try that cake as I can tell from the recipe that it is just my kind of cake - and I'll blog about it, so watch out!
    Re the curtain fabric - gorgeous, and with lining it will be better than the fancy-named to-the-trade toiles.
    The tureen - well, it would look grand anywhere. I love that red - I have a red kitchen.

  13. I printed the recipe. The cake looks so good!...Christine

  14. Oh, so lucky to have your Mom's recipe box and to find the card with your Gramma's recipe - even better! It sounds very good and I a saving this recipe. I think that the fabric you have on hand will look great - especially if you line it like you said you were going to do. ~ Robyn

  15. I really loved hearing your story of your grandmother. They certainly were the matriarchs back then. I was too young to remember my grandmother on my mom's side but I have heard she was a real battle axe! Thankfully you & I just inherited their good qualities! Ha!! And yes, I will try the recipe. I'm not a very good baker but I stumbled upon a bundt pan I didn't know I had recently & now I have something to use it for! By the way, have you ever tried baking with Splenda? I don't use sugar either and this is a really great substitute.

    Love, love, love toile. If you have any left over (& you do have a lot it seems) you can sew a ruffled hem on your guest towels!


  16. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story. Your grandmother sounds like an amazing woman. And I will definitely try this cake! You sold me with the crunchy a day or so later lol. The toile is lovely, and I think it will be perfect. Great post, Kathy

  17. I know you must treasure that recipe file! I have some of my mother's recipes in her handwriting, and I smile when I read them. AND I have my grandmother's with just the ingredients (no measurements). She was such a good cook that she never wrote down the amounts needed. LOL!

    Enjoyed the rest of your post as well.

    Happy FF on Saturday!


    Sheila :-)

  18. I love the story of your grandmother, such wonderful memories.....Thank you for sharing!

  19. I love the story and the picture of your grandmother. Recipes from my grandmothers are some of my most prized possessions! Thank you for sharing one of your treasures. :D

  20. Love your blog. And there is nothing better than family cake! The tureen is wonderful as well.

  21. I had never seen a picture of your grandmother. how wonderful that you not only have one, but posted it. also, when i saw the writing on the recipe card, i said to myself, i recognize that handwriting, i think that's cathy's mom's handwriting (note, i still cannot call her tina, although she has told me to, many times in the past). i am going to print that out and make that cake!

  22. I loved that story! My Grandfathers were dead before I was born, and Gmas died when I was young, so I have no wonderful memories like you have. And they all lived where your Grandma did, same area..

  23. What a beautiful gravy boat! I really enjoyed the story about your grandmother and the recipe (that serves 12-15!). My grandmother is 92, turning 93 this year. How wonderful if she could live to see 100 (or close to it)! :-)

  24. I enjoyed your post very much! My grandmother (father's mother) came from Denmark and lived to be 92. She had several daughters so I don't any anything of hers other than a photo. You are vey lucky to have her recipes!

  25. Ilove the post about your Grandmother. My maternal side of the family is all Danish and it made me warm and fuzzy inside. What I wouldn't do to have a recipe that was my grandmothers! (and you luckily have furniture too!) How precious! Thank you for sharing the cake recipe, can't wait to try it! By the way I love the toile fabric and am sickend that out Walmart no longer carries fabric. The last thing I bought from them was WAVERLY fabric for my kitchen curtains I made and I love them! Love you blog!

  26. How funny that your walls are red and you were looking at black and white curtains... I just posted a few weeks ago about wanting to paint my walls red, wainscoting white and have black and white damask curtains. I think we have a LOT in common!


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