Kitchen Art and Edible Legacies

by Jackie Houchin

I’m so thankful that both my mom and my dad put pen to paper while they were alive to draw and write out lasting legacies for me to cherish now that they are gone.

Our Thanksgiving Dinner

Mom cooked the whole feast, all the fixings and desserts, until way after she had great-grandchildren. When she was no longer able, I took over the task for a few years before handing it down to my daughter-in law who excels in the kitchen.

IMG_4917Now, the week before Thanksgiving I thumb through the 3×5 cards in Mom’s old plastic recipe box, looking for the Cranberry Salad, the Holiday Mincemeat Cake, and the Chiffon Pumpkin Pie recipes. The writing is faint and blurred; the cards are stained. And my heart gives a twist as I picture Mom taking each one out and assembling the ingredients on the counter.  (This “treasured” box came to me 20 months ago when, at 94, she died.)

Six weeks ago my Dad joined her in Heaven. Now they are giving thanks to God continually, not just on our annual holiday.

In cleaning out my dad’s file drawers I found a stack of napkins about five inches high. I thought they were dust cloths for his crafting projects, until I took them out of the plastic bag. Instead of throwaways, I found ‘priceless’ pieces of art that I will treasure alongside my mom’s recipe box.

IMG_4915Daily for a year or so in 1999, Dad sat at their kitchen table and drew stick figure sketches of Mom in various situations, from housecleaning and cooking, to relaxing with a morning coffee on the patio, working a jigsaw puzzle, gardening,  and packing/traveling to Solvang on their anniversary.  Each filmy paper illustration has her comment in a balloon above her head. I can hear her saying them all! I admit, I cried as I looked at each one in the stack.

I’ll share a few of his sketches here, along with two of her “famous” Thanksgiving recipes.

Mom, baking her Chiffon Pumpkin Pies (Thin crusts; never soggy!)

IMG_4898 (Edited)    IMG_4900 (Edited)

Mom’s pie recipe:

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pie mix)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 eggs (separated)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 TBS. plain gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2 TBS. granulated sugar
  • 1 baked pie shell

Soak Gelatin in water. Combine brown sugar, pumpkin, milk, egg yolks (lightly beaten), spices and salt.  Cook in top of double boiler until mixture begins to thicken (about 5 minutes)  Add gelatin to hot mixture. Chill until partially congealed. Beat egg whites stiff, but not dry. Beat granulated sugar into egg  whites. Fold into pumpkin mixture.  Pour into baked pie shell. Chill for 1-2 hours or until stiff enough to cut and hold its shape.  Garnish with whipped cream if desired.

Mom’s Cranberry Salad recipe:

  • 1 pound fresh or frozen whole cranberries
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup drained crushed pineapple
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 large package of strawberry Jell-O
  • 1 cup boiling water

Grind (or process) the cranberries roughly. Add sugar. Let set 3 hours.  Add pecans,  pineapple, and marshmallows.  Dissolve Jell-O thoroughly in boiling water. Add to the above mixture and set aside to mold. (When slightly thickened, stir down the marshmallows.)

Gratitude

How glad I am that my parents took time to write out and draw “every day” things.  They may never be published (other than on this blog), but they are as enduring and endearing to me as any literary classic or masterpiece painting.  They are the hearts of my Mom and Dad.

Creativity in any form is a gift from God and destined to bless (or change) someone.  Keep on creating from your heart. You’ll never know who will pick up a piece of “you” and smile (or cry).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving snoopy

“Oh, give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good.” Psalm 136.1

Author: photojaq

First, I am a believer in Jesus Christ, so my views and opinions are filtered through what God's Word says and I believe. I'm a wife, a mom, a grandma and now a great grandma. I write articles and reviews, and I dabble in short fiction. I enjoy living near the ocean, doing gardening (for beauty and food) and traveling - in other countries, if possible. My heart is for Christian missions, and I'm compiling a collections of Missionary Kids' stories to publish. (I also like kittens and cats and reading mysteries.)

14 thoughts on “Kitchen Art and Edible Legacies”

  1. Memories. Are we not thankful for them any time of the year. To have those drawings and the recipes is such a gift. I have my mom’s recipe box and still make a few of those dishes though my cooking isn’t as good or as fancy anymore. My dad was the gourmet cook in the family and I have his cookbooks as well. But even if I don’t do the fancy dinners, I have all those memories and they feed the soul. Happy Thanksgiving.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m bringing the Cranberry Salad to our family Thanksgiving this year. Last year it was the Pumpkin Pies. Like you, Gayle, I don’t cook as well as my mom, but the memories are there, affirming her love and talent. Thanks for sharing!

      Like

  2. What sweet memories of your parents that will last! I love the napkin drawings! And I remember my grandma having a plastic recipe box that my mom now possesses. Pretty special!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing your family and your wonderful recollections and remembrances. I genuinely think, Jackie, your father’s drawings and your mother’s recipe’s would make an “absolutely fabulous” cookbook. I certainly would buy it…

    Have a wonderful thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Holidays are a wonderful time to connect with family, the traditions of the past and the memories you make for the future. I won’t be partaking in the Thanksgiving feast this year, as I’m still in New Zealand where they don’t celebrate the holiday. However I will still be thankful for so many things. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jackie, you’re indeed lucky that your parents left you such personal gifts. Wonderful memories. I may try the pumpkin pie recipe. I don’t have a double boiler, so I’ll either have to get one, or improvise. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a great post! I never use recipes–though I have lots of cookbooks that I use to give me ideas. I’m now the old one who usually cooks much of the Thanksgiving dinner with others providing dishes. This year though, I got a break and went to my grandson’s home and didn’t have to do anything. What a blessing.

    Liked by 1 person

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