I’ve been missing my grandmas this month, having lost one twenty years ago and another a month ago.
So I’ve been baking all their favorite recipes.
On St. Patrick’s Day I made my sweet Rose’s soda bread. I first made it right after college, living in Boston, when a St. Patrick’s Day card from my mom made me call her in a panic because it would be my first year since age four without her famous Irish soda bread.
The recipe is still on the back of that Snoopy card from my mom, though the See’s cocoa-and-nougat Irish potatoes that accompanied it are long gone.
My kids love the family’s soda bread. I love the bread. It’s one of our Springtime rituals. And for the first time in twenty years, my soda bread tasted terrible. It was dry and crumbly.
I felt I’d failed grandma.
She will likely forgive me, since she’s a swell old gal, and was known to muddle perhaps one recipe a year herself. And because I never question her patience with and love for me. Ever.
But that recipe got me thinking about all my heirloom recipes. My great grandmother’s honey cakes, the recipe for which my aunt gave me on my wedding day, nestled in the sterling silver tiers on which she used to serve them. My uncle’s crepes, a special treat for the kids the morning after thanksgiving, which we wolfed down as the grownups lolled about in sleeping bags and we giggled at how much powdered sugar we could keep off the table by just licking it off the thin pancakes.
During this nostalgic romp through my food memories, I found my beloved grandmother’s Crested Butte Chocolate Cake recipe. I love this recipe. I used to swear by this recipe to impress and nourish the friends who made me feel adored. But since a treasured aunt, my godmother, gave me the phenomenal Moosewood Cooks at Home, I’ve been making their 6-Minute Chocolate Cake. To the exclusion of my grandmother’s old standby, and my favorite.
Finding the cocoa-dusted recipe cards for this cake made my week.
I made my nieces this wonderful cake for a family celebration of birthdays and loss. To celebrate the end of a very stressful month. To celebrate my son turning five. To celebrate love and life. And grandmas.