Pearl's Recipe Box
I can't remember how I came to have
It belonged to my grandmother, Pearl and has been in my possession for years.
Pearl died died in 1986 when I was seventeen. Her husband, my grandfather, Fred, died when I was six. After that she married once and moved to Montréal from New York City for a brief time. When she returned, I remember her as being sad. During my high school years I had dinner with her once a week in her apartment on East 73rd Street. (I think it was Tuesday nights.) She always cooked for me. The meals were basic and delicious. One dish that stands out in my memory was something she called Chicken-in-a-Pot. Her salad bowl was wooden and before loading it up, she was in the habit of rubbing it's inside with a garlic clove. She had embossed green glass goblets that we drank our water out of and velvet upholstered dining chairs. She once showed me the scar from her mastectomy. My mother was furious, but it didn't bother me. I'm told I look like her.
I don't know exactly why I've let this box sit closed for so long or what compelled me to finally open it, but last weekend I did.
I knew it was her recipe box but I was unaware of exactly what treasures lay inside.
The papers were yellowed and musty and almost too brittle to unfold. The writing, familiar and foreign, only partially legible. Niall suggested that perhaps my father (her son) would be able to decipher the codes.
She collected recipes on little bits of clues about her life. One written on notepaper from The Hotel Webster Hall on Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh. I like to assume that she was visiting my father who went to college there. Another written on a page torn from a date book marked — Thursday, April 30, 1964. The year of my parents' marriage. Still more written on old checks and curious receipts.
The recipes fall into three major categories: Jewish cooking, recipes passed along from friends and those cut out from newspapers. Some fall into multiple categories.
Among the Jewish recipes I found:
Easiest Potato Kugel Cauliflower Pudding Matzo Brie Charoses For Seder and Kneidlach for a Meat Meal (New York Post Monday, April 1 1968) Potatoe (this is how she spelled it) Soup Potatoe Pancake Sour Cream Pancake Mother's Matzo Balls
Some of her friend's recipes:
Pot Roast - Miriam Baked Chicken - Lois Chocolate Cake - Ruth Chicken Fricasse - Irma Goulash - Mrs. Schaer Veal Cutlet - Jenny Veal Loaf - Esther Cold Slaw - Faith (Faith, I suspect, is my mother) Dip - Ruth Cake - Edith
There were also multiple recipes for types of 'moulds' (also her spelling) including: Beet and Horseradish Mould, Apple Mould and Strawberry Mould. I vaguely remember these being all the rage in the seventies.
A list of recipes I hope to try one day:
Sunday Morning Coffee Cake Cheese Cake Chocolate Bar Cookies Icebox Cookies Banana Cake
(Notice a theme?)
Here is something she called
1/2 pound of butter 1/2 cup cream cheese 4 cups flour 1 cup sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 2 egg yolks (put whites aside and brush on top of cookies) 1 teaspoon vanilla
Roll into shape of salami (Yes, that is exactly what it says. Salami.) in wax paper and chill for about two hours. Cut cookies. Brush on egg white and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar or chopped nuts.
I never did find the recipe for Chicken-in-a-Pot.
Thanks for visiting.