[goofy family stories]

[goofy family stories]

This post is inspired by Keviana Elliott’s post called “giggles.” Check it out – it’s hilarious and sweet.

My Grandma was the Cook of our 5-women clan. Well, that was one of her numerous roles. Main hat she wore was that of the glue-that-held-us-all-together-tighter-than-the-duct-tape – but that’s for another post.

Grandma was the Cook. She could make a glorious feast out of nothing, it seemed like. Considering the tough last years of USSR and then the feeble economy of finally-independent Ukraine, the “deficit” was the word you could hear everywhere. Yet for every holiday and family gathering, we had such delicious meals that now I have to wonder how did Grandma manage to make all that.

These days the cookbook is falling apart, but still full of recipes ๐Ÿ™‚

Grandma was also the Gardener. Starting around late March and until late October, she was at our “dacha” – the summer house. She would usually stay there for a week and come home for the weekends to buy food (there was no stores available back in those days at the dacha) and to go to Church. Vegetables, fruits, berries, rainbow-colored flowers – the garden was magnificent when she was alive.

Well, one time, mom and I decided to surprise Grandma and cook something for when she comes.

Keep in mind, Grandma was the cook. Mom could cook basic stuff but didn’t enjoy it and I was still a kid.

Also, there was no normal internet so we couldn’t simply Google a recipe. We decided to open Grandma’s Cookbook.

Even back then, it was an old notebook where Grandma wrote all her recipes. Sometimes, there could be four different recipes for a carrot cake, one crossed out with “NOT TASTY” written over it, and another one could bear a mark of something like “VERY GOOD.”

Looking through the recipe book, we realized that the surprise will not be as easy as we hoped.

“For Culinary Recipes”

The reason?

Grandma’s recipe book resembled more of a short-code notes / outlines of the recipes. For example, a cake could take “as much flour as needed” or “water or milk can be optional.” Reading her cookbook was likeย decipheringย a 16-bit code.

Finally, after a few minutes of leafing through the pages, we found a recipe that we wanted to try.

It was for a cake / cookie thing. We were not sure what that was, but it looked easy enough and we were not giving up on the idea of making Grandma pleased with us.

We made the dough and then the recipe said that we ought to add some jam to it. The only jam we had available at hand was black currant one that Grandma made the previous summer. So, following the instructions, we put the jam in the dough.

And laughed… Laughed so hard we cried.

The pretty beige dough turned dry-asphalt-grey with a slight purple tint.

… We did finish baking that cookie cake (and it still was purple-grey color even after baking), but Grandma said she enjoyed it and mom and I had great time together. (It actually wasn’t that bad, except for the way it looked…)

Since then, many years have passed by. Grandma passed away, and mom learned to cook. But until this day, mom and I still share a laugh when we remember that greyish purple dough and our frantic ideas regarding what can be done to improve it.

Have you ever had funny mishaps in the kitchen? Feel free to share ๐Ÿ™‚

  • That. Was. Awesome. *laugh* I LOVE cookies, and I can honestly say, I've never had a grey/purple one! This was great!

    This line made me laugh, too: "Reading her cookbook was like deciphering a 16-bit code." It reminds me of how my Abuela (Mexican Grandmother) tried to teach me to cook, with a handful here and a dash there– you don't need it written down! (*Kev screams in horror* But how do you REMEMBER IT!??!)

    Thank you, THANK YOU, for sharing this! It's awesome! And I love the photos and description of the cookbook.

    Yay for family!

    • ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for inspiration, Keviana ๐Ÿ™‚

      Yeah, I don't think a lot of people had grey/purple cookies… ๐Ÿ˜€ They look rather weird ๐Ÿ˜€

      "a handful here and a dash there" – exactly!!! same here. and Grandma didn't need to remember it… she just "felt" it. I'm only learning how to "feel" the dough.

  • Mishaps in the kitchen? Does burning water count? Yep, as you guessed it am not into culinary stuff. That is better left for my bride.

    • Yes, Bill, you deserve a special prize for burning water. Hilarious – and *beyond classic* as a friend of mine would say.

  • BTW: I loved Keviana's story as well. (Just didn't comment). ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jon

    I'm not much of a cook (my youngest sister is amazing!), but I make a really good homemade mac and cheese. When I was in college, I used to make it for my housemates, and they really loved it. So when I was home, I decided to make it for my family. I don't remember exactly what I did, but I think the cheese burned–so the mac and cheese had that burnt flavor. Needless to say, that was a fail haha!

    • Oooohhhh… Mac&Cheese… My favorite food ever. I was deliriously happy every time our friends from the US would bring us some.

      Dang… now I want macaroni and cheese…

  • michelehayes

    I remember well your grandma cooking amazing dinners during the days of "deficit!" I also remember the dacha, and all the fresh produce she was able to squeeze out of that little postage stamp sized garden! I can just imagine you and your mom with the grey/purple dough! My main mishap in the kitchen was in Ukraine when the cupboards fell off the wall just after I loaded the dishes in them!

    • I wish she was still around when you guys were here last year – she'd love to see you and cook another feast for ya.

      the cupboards fell off the wall just after I loaded the dishes in them – LOL… that's funny, Shelly! I can only imagine… Did you have any dishes left?

  • When I first started frying salmon, I perpetually burned it. I couldn't figure out how to get it to not smoke, so I started thinking of ways to prevent the smoke alarm from going off. I ended up with the custom of hooking a plastic bag over it, but I often forgot to get the bag back down for a few days. Safety first!

    • How about using oil or something? ๐Ÿ˜€

      Plastic bag over the smoke alarm – nice. Quite creative ๐Ÿ™‚ But yes – safety should come first.

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