Someone ask if I was going to share a picture of Nana and I found this one. This was the last party Nana ever had. It was 6 months later that she had to come and live with us along with her brother, Uncle Joe. The party we had was for his 75Th birthday. It was a surprise and it was the last time they were all together....all 8 brothers and sisters. I did the catering part and Nana did the decorations and I mean she decorated! In the background is one of her sisters, Anne.
Nana was a special person in many ways. She worked as a secretary a good part of her life and taught herself heirloom sewing when she was off. She went to many classes that were offered by Marthan Pullen from "Sew Beautiful" magazine. he went to Texas for a week, to the Coast of Georgia and Alabama. I did go with her to one here in Atlanta.
She was a perfectionist in her sewing and made many dresses for people that had professional pictures of their kids. She made knickers for the boys and eye catching dresses for the girls and such sweet things for babies. She would have trunk sales for all the grandma's she knew and old so many even if they were 100.00 each and up. I did the "fancy work" as she called it and I really did love working with her.
She was a lady always.....a Southern lady....bless her heart.....she only took Jesus into her heart 4 years before she passed away but what a difference it made! I learned that if I wanted a "Mother-in-love"(MIL) than I needed to be filled with love for her...she gave me my best friend...my lover....my husband and for that she deserved to be treated with respect and love.....I needed to free John to love and care for her as God intended him too and I needed to join in as a partner...not sandpaper.
She loved "Southern" dishes and always had a spread for you....even if she had her maid come in and fix it for us. But the dishes she made were good. She was known for her Coconut cake and her brothers called it "spoon cake" because you had to use a spoon to eat it....it was that moist. She loved making fruit cakes and than soaking them with Brandy and they were perfect by Christmas. Oh, they were good! She made sponge cakes and again I will say they were the best.
Nana had a passion for a Pimento Cheese sandwich! I never had this until I came South......and it seemed like this was a favorite of everybody and than when I met Nana I learned to really enjoy them....These were often a summer lunch or just a snack but almost always included in a tea or Bridge Club meeting and her Garden Club.......I have made them for her in fancy pinwheel sandwiches or in ribbon sandwiches with ham or chicken spread as the other filling.....For sure one must always remove the crusts from very fresh bread to make these....I can still see Nana with her brightly colored clothing, (she was always dressed like a lady in pretty clothes)......her hair always in place...(She went to the "Beauty Parlor"once a week.....than every night she would roll her hair in toilet paper to keep it perfect and than put some net looking cap over it. This was a routine that nieces and her 2 grandchildren loved to watch) Her kitchen was usually very clean thanks to a maid, but she would prepare this sandwich like it was going to be served to a king! She had her maid make this once a week....fresh. Out came the cutting board and than the bread....she would carefully cut off the crusts like it was one of her dress patterns she was cutting out....lines perfect....Than spread the bread with just a touch of miracle Whip to moisten it(she said) and than put the spread on top.....and the other piece of bread.......usually she made a cold asparagus salad to go with this or some fresh vegetables and chips and when fresh tomatoes were in she wanted a few slices of a juicy and red tomato .....She took it to the table and savored each bite of it........Her table was always pretty with matching tablecloth and napkins and almost always a touch of battenburg lace! How she loved Battenburg! Fresh flowers or silks were always in the middle of the table. Place mats were a must for her also. Of course they matched too.
I am going to share her recipes for the cheese spread and coconut cake.
Pimento Cheese Spread
1 lb Cheddar cheese(half sharp and half medium)
1 small Onion, chopped finely
6 oz. jar pimentos, chopped
2 Tb Garlic powder (to taste)
Salt and pepper, to taste
3/4 c Miracle Whip
Dash of hot sauce...she use Pete's
Finely grate cheese in food processor. Grate onion and add to grated cheese. Add balance of ingredients. If too dry, add more Miracle Whip.
TO MAKE PINWHEEL SANDWICHES
Cut crust from bread slices. Flatten each piece with hand or roller. Spread each slice with filling and place 4 stuffed olives in the center across the width. Roll each slice in wax paper. Place in tight container and freeze.When to be used, take rolls out and slice into bite-size slices with electric knife. Let dry out on paper towels before serving.
Nana doubled the filling recipe so that she could pour some in between each of the 3 layers and still had plenty for the top. I think this was one of the secrets she would not share with anyone. If you love coconut than you will like this. I made it for her memorial service with the family and they all said it was just like Nana's but than it should have been because she was my teacher.She would make a good cake first. This is the recipe she used.
1/2 pound butter
2 cups sugar
2-2/3 cups cake flour
4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sweet milk
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
Grease and line 3- 8 inch cake pans. Set oven at 375.Cream butter and sugar well. Add egg yokes. Sift flour,baking powder and salt together and add alternately with milk. Add vanilla. beat egg whites until stiff and fold into mixture. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.
1 egg yolk
1 cup milk or 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup coconut milk.(This too was a secret)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
4 cups shredded coconut(and Nana would only use that in the freezer section of the store)
Mix together all ingredients except coconut and cook in double boiler over low heat until thickened. Let cool 3 minutes and than add coconut. have cooled cakes ready and pour this filling mixture over cake while hot....this makes the cake moister and it will keep longer.
We miss Nana a lot but she gave us such wonderful memories!
She was indeed my Mother-In Love!