Remembering grandma

My grandmother was a remarkable woman. She lived in this house, by herself, for eight years after my grandfather passed away, living a lifestyle that has become increasingly rare. She was an energetic and industrious householder, harvesting and canning produce every year; her pantry was filled with peaches, applesauce, apricots, tomatoes, dried apples and green beans, as well as dried pinto beans, black-eyed peas, millet and wheat. Grandma milled her own wheat (locally grown, of course) to make flour from which she made the wonderful bread that left a profound and lasting impact on me as a child. Although I didn’t have the opportunity to spend much time with her as a kid, I have fond and vivid memories of her in the kitchen, kneading dough for bread or crackers, rolling out a pie crust, spooning cookie dough onto a baking sheet. Her cookies and pies set the gold standard I still strive for when I bake, and her breads were wholesome, nourishing and still as delicious and coveted as any cake. I still remember my disbelief when my mother confessed that as a child she’d wanted store bought bread, like the other kids.

Living in the house my grandparents built helps me to feel connected to them. Their presence is all around me, in the massive CD collection that my grandfather cherished (he made a careful mark on the inside of his CD cases each time he listened to an album), in the lovingly preserved food my grandmother left, in their books and knickknacks, in the gorgeous view of the mountains from the many windows in the living room.

A while ago I dusted off my grandmother’s grain mill to make flour.

Little Jiffy

It was an amazing experience to turn whole grains of hard winter wheat into course-ground flour in my own kitchen! I’ve been making bread with the flour I ground for the past few weeks; the flour is flavorful and pleasantly gritty.

Grain mill

Wheat

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About ea

Reluctant technophile, immoderate lover of words, food, cogitation, the sensory world. We are not done evolving and there is no free will.
This entry was posted in Bits n bobs, Cooking. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Remembering grandma

  1. hrockwel says:

    What a loving tribute to our Grandma (and Grandpa, too). It was one week ago today that marked the year since she died. It’s hard to believe it’s already been that long. Thank you for carrying on her traditions – that is a lovely legacy. I miss you, sister, and really wish you could be here.

  2. annieklein says:

    Yes, indeed. A loving tribute so evocatively written; I could almost smell the bread baking, the chocolate chip cookies ready to come out of the oven and while still warm, find their way into my mouth. Mmmmmmm The wonderful smells that permeated the kitchen and the delicious food that followed the smells. The tradition that you carried on while we were there last summer to honor your grandma, my mother. It’s a lovely eventuality that you, the younger of her two beloved granddaughters, are there to enjoy in action and reflection many of the things she enjoyed. And you definitely inherited her pioneering, adventuresome spirit, her strength of character and heart of compassion. It’s a comforting feeling to know that life is continuing in that house built with love and hard work. To know that spectacular sunrises and sunsets are still being enjoyed from the same vantage points. That all the little knick-knacks are being enjoyed. And especially that you are the one that’s enjoying them. Very much looking forward to being there with you, hopefully sometime in the not-too-far-distant future. your mom

  3. wow that grinder is awesome. Kings would kill for that, a batter and a solar panel… in the middle ages.

  4. Rob Kent says:

    You should be able to adjust the fineness using the knob on the side–these stone grinders will produce exceptionally fine flour if you want them to, and this particular model does a really superior job.

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