Milk Maid

Secret ingredient-old family recipes

Over the past few weeks, my county fair judging adventures have led me to learning about a multitude of different topics. One of the fun areas to judge are the food projects.

While some of the 4-Hers make their cookies and brownies from a prepared box mix, there are many that make everything from scratch. From brownies to beautiful pies, I’ve been seeing them all. The majority of those homemade goodies are made from family recipes with the help of family members.

It was really neat to hear all the stories they told about working in the kitchen with their families.

The 4-Hers would be beaming while talking about it. One 4-Her brought this light jello like strawberry dessert topped with a graham cracker crust. It reminded me of my favorite dessert my Grandma Moorse used to make. She usually made it in the strawberry variety, because that’s what my brothers and I liked. It was really light, fluffy and airy and was topped with graham crackers. It was always a great treat! I have been trying to find this recipe for years and I haven’t found it yet.

I’ve found desserts that are close, but not quite it. One day one of my aunts and I scoured all of my grandma’s thousands of recipes and recipe books.

We found a lot of neat things, but not the recipe for the elusive dessert. My grandma had a stroke when I was in fifth grade, so I wasn’t able to learn how to make it and I can’t remember what was all in it. After she had her stroke, at nearly 80 years old, my grandpa took up being the primary house baker and cook for the first time.

Being his grandkids, my brothers and I were the guinea pigs. For whatever reason, he loved making brownies. He would make dozens and dozens of homemade brownies trying to perfect the recipe. There were times that he mixed up the salt and sugar.

Those brownies were best served with a large glass of ice cold milk. Then, there were the brownies that stayed in the oven too long. They were also great milk dunking brownies.

Then, once he felt he was getting good at making the brownies, he started to “get fancy”. He would add mixtures like cherries, nuts and chocolate chips to the mix. Grandpa also would make the best homemade barbecues. He’d make them for special occasions like our school concerts and family get togethers.

There usually weren’t any leftovers. My other grandma is a top notch cook too. She makes the best homemade scalloped potatoes and Swedish meatballs. In her younger years, she owned a little cafe and worked at several restaurants too. She always says the key is a little sugar and a little salt.

Cooking, baking and of course eating, is always important for families to do. Sharing those recipes with the younger generations is so important to keep those memories alive.

When you go to the Lyon County Fair next weekend, take a look at the food projects. I would guess the majority of the cookies and pies at the fair were made with a secret ingredient– a family recipe.

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