Memories of my mother and her cooking

By
Real Estate Agent with Compass CA DRE# 01215160

Earlier this week Lise Howe posted memories of her mother's cooking and requested that we share a recipe that our mothers cooked. Since reading that post, and with Mother's Day fast approaching, I've been thinking a lot about my mom.

I have such fond memories of her and appreciate her more with each passing year. Her faith, her spirit of adventure (heading off to Europe with only a backpack--when she was in her 60s), her unwavering belief in her children and unconditional love. She made the simplest of activities special and memorable, turned hardships into fun, and introduced us to the wonderful world of nature, hiking and and thoughtfully caring for our planet and all of us who inhabit it.

Here my mother, on the left, is holding her first child, my brother Dan. My Aunt is holding her first child, my cousin Patricia. Early 1945; the world is at war; both husbands were in the military; uncertainty abounded. This picture epitomizes motherhood to me - all the joy, hopes and plans for the future.

mothers with babies, 1945

While cooking was not one of her fortes, baking certainly was. In reading over the few recipes I kept, I found a theme -- simplicity and easy. I'll share two of those here.

First, Sunday Morning Special (what really was special was her giving it a name, which made us appreciate it all the more.) Super simple:

  • butter a square baking dish;
  • place shredded wheat biscuits in it;
  • dot with butter; sprinkle a bit of brown sugar;
  • add milk so about 2/3 of the biscuits were covered;
  • bake in a 350 degree oven until hot and biscuits soften.

One of her candies sounds really strange when I read the ingredients, but as kids we thought it was delicious, Coconut Potato Candy. As I recall, she made it only at Christmastime. Like many recipes of the day, terms were general and quantities often unstated.

  • Boil several medium sized potatoes; drain off water; mash the potatoes;
  • Add powdered sugar and coconut until very stiff; (proportions? experiment!)
  • Spread onto a buttered platter or baking tray;
  • When cold, pour on a thin coating of melted bitter chocolate.

Happy Mother's Day to all who take on the role of mother.

 

 

 

Comments (42)

Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Brian England - I must say I think potato-coconut candy sounds bizarre -- but I remember that we liked it as kids; quite the treat!

Hannah Williams - having a mother who was a lot of fun is more important than having a her be a great cook in my opinion. We were lucky to have moms like that.

May 09, 2020 04:35 PM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Hi again, Kathleen Daniels - a recipe for an eggless frittata came my way today. I wish I had sent it to you. Garbanzo bean flour replaced eggs. Do you cook with that type of flour? I never have.

May 09, 2020 04:38 PM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Feeding the soul is the best type of cooking, Myrl Jeffcoat ! Thanks for the feature in the Old Farts Club.

Jeff Dowler, CRS - I wish I had kept more of her recipes, but I'm not much of a collector. I did keep lots of old photos, and am happy I did.

May 09, 2020 04:40 PM
Steffy Hristova
HomeSmart Elite Group Tempe AZ Tel: 602.710.8161 - Tempe, AZ
Tempe AZ Realtor - Your Home Close to Your Work!

Lottie, this is such  a great story.  When I read that your Mom headed to Europe with her back-pack, I felt, yes, I can relate to that, I did it, too (in my early 20-ies). Then, I saw the next line - " in her 60-ies". That is something I really admire. Maybe, I'll get a chance to revisit the places we travelled in my 20-ies, with a back pack, again, this decade ... It will be worth it.

May 10, 2020 11:04 AM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Lottie just stopping by to wish you a very, very special day today!!!

May 10, 2020 11:23 AM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

This is such a sweet tribute and it reminds me of my own mom in so many ways and so many memories with her. :)

May 11, 2020 10:07 AM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I would agree with that “George and I want to wish everybody a happy Mother’s Day who I might’ve missed yesterday

George Souto

May 11, 2020 10:09 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
DFW FINE PROPERTIES - Flower Mound, TX
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Lottie Kendall - What a GREAT story for Mother's Day! Your story and the beautiful photograph gave me goosebumps! It sounds like a clip from a movie that I would want to watch, especially if it included your mother's footprints, backpacking to Europe in her 60s! Now I know exactly where you get your courage, strength, faith, and spirit of adventure. You are your mother's daughter in the best ways that count.  

May 11, 2020 10:22 AM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Hi Steffy Hristova - in her quiet way, my mother was a rock, and had a wonderful, adventurous spirit. If I ever find myself lacking in courage, I think of her and forge ahead. I hope your day yesterday was wonderful.

George Souto - thanks for your kind greeting; I had a fabulous day and look forward to this new week, whatever it may bring.

May 11, 2020 11:10 AM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Laura Cerrano - I remember your mother from my early days here. Having you continue her legacy keeps her fresh in my mind. Be well.

May 11, 2020 11:11 AM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Hi Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP - I hope I have many of my mother's qualities; I admired her greatly (well, perhaps not when I was a sulky teenager!) and cherished our adult times together. She was in her 60s when she took her first European vacation, set off on her own, finding rooms in homes (not unlike today's AirBnB perhaps) from kiosks at the train stations, making friends. Always walking and hiking. 

May 11, 2020 11:16 AM
Kris Collis, Associate Broker
Smart Way America Realty - East Stroudsburg, PA
Professional Results you Expect 570-801-5525

Lottie, Coconut Potato Candy, brilliant.  Who'd have guessed.  Must try, will probably love as much as the kids !!

May 11, 2020 04:23 PM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Hi Kris Collis, Associate Broker - I haven't eaten that potato candy since childhood, and since I no longer eat much sugar, likely won't again. But I've learned that things change, so who knows? I hope you like it!

May 12, 2020 06:26 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Lottie, for sharing some of your fond memories.

My mother was a wonderful cook.

May 12, 2020 07:13 AM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Back in the depression era I'm sure this recipe made an introduction!  Simple ingredients that were inexpensive were common, flour and water.  Thank you for sharing this one!  Love seeing those photos of that era!

May 14, 2020 01:02 PM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Hi Roy Kelley - did your mother cook in a similar style as Chef Dolores? 

Hello Jan Green - the photo of my mother and aunt dates to January 1945 -- WW2 was still raging on. Shortages and rationing was common; I'm sure that impacted the cooking and baking of the day.

May 14, 2020 06:53 PM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

I loved reading your mother's recipes and the stories of her life and how she inspired you.  I want to go back to Europe - backpacking in my 70s sounds just right! (since I am nearly 68 now)

Jun 07, 2020 08:11 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I don't know any of my Mom's recipes because they were in her head. She was skinny as a rail, but she loved to cook and bake and feed other people.

She always wanted a hot air balloon ride, so in her late 70's she took one. They had a rough landing, the basket tipped over, and she landed on the bottom of the pile of people who fell out. She didn't care; she loved the experience. She also took flying lessons in her 70's - picking up where she had left off when life got in the way years earlier.

Yes, I miss her every day.

Jun 07, 2020 04:12 PM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Hi Lise Howe - I hope you get the chance to explore, with or without a backpack. Keeping a sense of wonder and trying new things is important for us all.

Jun 07, 2020 07:04 PM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Hello Marte Cliff - your mother sounds like she knew how to enjoy everything life had in store for her - a great role model.

Jun 07, 2020 07:05 PM