This week’s blog comes with quite a story. I hope you love stories. I love stories, my grandmother always told us stories and I would relish in every word.
Its book review week and I am reviewing a very special book this week that unfortunately isn’t for sale. It’s a family cookbook of my best friend from school’s grandmother. Penny Curtis and I have been friends since we were eleven. We both grew up in the Northern Territory. We loved our grandmothers and talked of them fondly. They both lived elsewhere mine in New York state and Penny’s in Herberton, Queensland.
When I was fourteen my gran, who we all called Mama came to stay with us for three months. It was an exciting time. Penny and I spent a lot of our free time with Mama during those three months. When my parents announced that in the June school holidays we were all going to Cairns for a holiday we were doubly excited as Penny’s family were going to Herberton at the same time.
It was in the days before mobile phones so we planned before hand which day my family would drive up to spend with Penny and her Gran. I was excited to meet Penny’s gran who I had heard a lot about and Mama was also excited, as we knew Penny’s Gran Marj Weiland was a great baker, as was Mama.
On the day we went to Herberton in our rental car we packed up a lush lunchtime picnic with several tea flasks in hand sitting on laps (in those days flasks were notorious for leaking). We stopped for an early morning picnic in a picturesque place and then made our way to Herberton for an early afternoon tea. We were keen to get there early so we could spend as much of the afternoon with Penny and her gran as possible.
As we were driving post lunch a road train passed us and threw up a huge stone that flung itself into our windscreen. The windscreen shattered and glass went everywhere. Mama was sitting in the front seat and the glass lay all over her lap. We were all in shock but miraculously no one was hurt, not even a tiny cut. It was decided that we would need to head straight back to Cairns as we were all nervous about driving without a windscreen. We then realised that Penny, her mum and gran would be waiting for us and we had no way of letting them know so my dad suggested we continue on the way to tell them what had happened and we wouldn’t stay.
However once we got there Penny said ‘oh you have to stay even for a little bit as Gran was so looking forwarded to it.’ So we all hopped out of the car and went and met Marj. What a delightful afternoon we had. We ate so many delicious biscuits and cakes and I remember fondly Mama and Penny’s gran talking about recipes.
Over the years that I visited Mama in the states after that visit, whenever we talked about Penny Mama would talk about how much she enjoyed meeting Penny’s gran. When Penny told me only a few months ago that she had put together her Gran’s Recipe Book I was so excited. Penny’s mum sent me a copy and it is like a trip down memory lane seeing the photo of Marj, her house and her kitchen. The recipes of course are not vegan but the tips that go with many of the recipes are priceless. As I read through the book avidly I took note of all the recipes I could veganise and it is in this blog post that I will share two of those conversions.
It is such a fabulous project Penny has completed putting her Gran’s recipes together in a book. It makes me wish that I had some of Mama’s recipes, I do remember she had a little recipe box but don’t know where it went. All is not lost though as my mum remembers many of my mum’s recipes and I will try to veganise some of them.
If you have a favourite recipes of your gran’s that you would like to veganise get in touch as I’m happy to give it a whirl. Also would love to read the story that goes along with it as, just maybe, Penny and I might start an Our Gran’s recipe collection. Who knows.
Both of these recipes that I share with you in this blog are so delicious. The ‘not salmon cakes’ I made two Sunday’s in a row and scoffed my share down within minutes and had to ask Makrand to hide his share as I had no self control over such delicious morsels.
Thanks Penny, Carol (Penny’s Mum ) and Especially Marj for these inspiring recipes. Keeping the recipes alive through the generations and sharing with the world.