My sister and I have spent months going through our parent’s home, navigating through 70 years of memorabilia. Among the treasures that we found was our mom’s Betty Crocker Cookbook that she received Christmas 1959. It is worn…actually falling apart. It is soiled……so many pages have her food-coated fingerprints. It was loved and enjoyed by her for almost 60 years.
I can recall this cookbook, opened on our red formica kitchen table, and mom in her apron following her favorite recipe. Usually she was baking from it’s pages, and nothing made me happier. She had her favorite recipes, and I liked each one better than the next.
Going through Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book was a history lesson steeped in memories for me. The pictures of the 1950s housewife, cooking in a beautiful dress and heels, is truly a slice of life that has disappeared (thank goodness). The recipes have changed as well. There is no mention of healthy ingredients, caloric or fat content, and surely the more sugar the better for these desserts.
In deciding which recipe to try first, I went through the cookbook, page by page, stopping and marking any page that was soiled by her food and her fingerprints. Sixty years later and I can still smell and taste each one of her favorite recipes…….the ones where the spine of the book opens flatly. I remember her apron. I remember the standing Sunbeam mixmaster sitting on the counter. I remember her smile. She was always happy when she was cooking for her family. I remember waiting with anticipation for that first slice of whatever it was she was baking. It warms my heart to just recall this scene.
So after much deliberation I decided to begin my journey down memory lane within this cookbook with “Date and Nut Loaf.” It was always one of my favorites. She usually made it for afternoon coffee with a neighbor or one of my aunts. I especially loved it when it was spread with cream cheese and made into small tea sandwiches. If we were lucky, it appeared at the breakfast table the next morning.
My first bite of the date and nut loaf brought back many memories. The taste was so familiar, even though I can’t even imagine when the last time was that I’d had it. It was as if I’d had a slice yesterday. It never ceases to amaze me how many memories our taste buds have locked away. One bite and I’m back in time……a special time, that I love to visit over and over.
Recipe: 1 loaf
- Pour 1 1/2 cups boiling water over ……1 1/2 cups cut-up dates
- Let cool.
- Mix thoroughly…. 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 TBSP soft shortening and 1 egg
- Stir in the dates and water.
- Sift together and stir in…2 1/4 cups sifted flour, 1 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt
- Blend in 1 cup broken nuts. Use either walnuts or pecans.
- Pour into a well greased 9x5x3 loaf pan.
- Let stand for 20 minutes before baking
- Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 60 to 70 minutes.