Sunday, May 26, 2013

Through Grandma's Cookbook - The History

On May 1 2013, my beloved grandmother, Mrs. Mary Winnifred Murphy (nee Turner) passed away. This blog is in loving memory of her.

After my grandfather passed away in 2010, my brother and I reminisced that through the years my grandparent's were always our "constant". They were our home away from home.

My grandparent's home was a place of constant comfort and love... and great food! It wasn't "gourmet" or over-the-top. Nothing you would find in a fancy foodie magazine. But it was awesome. Always.

Grandma could throw together a Christmas dinner in her sleep.

After she passed, I spent some time looking through her photographs - It shouldn't have surprised me the number of photos there were of us eating around their formal dining room table. I cringe looking back through years of horrendous haircuts and my incredibly unfortunately '90s apparel, but I digress.

Grandma taught me many things (the foxtrot, how to iron a shirt collar, and how a lady announces she needs to use the washroom - "I must powder my nose"), but above all else, she made me love food.  Was it because her cooking was exceptional (yes), or because all my favourite memories revolved around dinner (yes), or because it was her way of always taking care of her family (yes)?

Everything was always prepared perfectly, served on hotplates they had collected through their travels, and there was always so much of it that we had to call in the reserves (the extra side tables) to hold it all. To say we were all borderline comatose by the end of our meal would be a gross understatement.

When my grandparent's moved into a nursing home, I was the very lucky recipient of a lot of her recipes - even the "old red box" - my personal favourite. 

That's where this journey begins. 

Part of what I love most about these recipes is that they're old, tried and true, and don't require any fancy or excessive equipment. Which is awesome, because I don't own any.

Oh, and lard. Lots and lots of lard.

For me, this is a journey of love. I'm still learning and healing, and this is a way for me to remember my grandmother in a very intimate way. I'm not an expert chef and I don't know tons about food or photography, but I'm anxious to learn.

Your mind has a way of forgetting how amazing something smells - like peanut butter cookies right out of the oven; or the way something tastes - like the crisp crunch of a cool, fresh cole slaw. But as soon as those cookies come out of the oven, or your fork touches your lips, it all comes flooding back to you. And it's not just the smell or taste you remember, it's every time you've ever pretended to be sick to stay home from school with your grandparents (and ended up baking cookies), or every Sunday dinner 'just because', with the infamous cole slow in the mint-green glass bowl.

She'd probably think this is all poppycock ;) 

It's time to open the red tin box...


  1. I love it, you are amazing. Grandma's cookies are always the best.

  2. Tara I think your new journey is a great idea. My grandmother made Sunday dinner every Sunday until grandpa died, now my mother does it. Someday I'm sure it will be me. I think I need to go spend a day with Grandma to just write down some of her tips and tricks. Isn't it amazing how they can make a full meal with just a small oven and tiny kitchen? How lucky you got the "Red Box"!!

  3. What a wonderful tribute to an amazing woman!! You are very much like her, so I am expecting wonders in the kitchen from now on!! I love what you have done here! Thank you - it brought warmth to my heart and a smile to my face!