Posted by: literallydelicious | February 19, 2010

Cooking with Grandma

My memories of Grandma Davidson are a bit fuzzy — and limited. Grandpa was a preacher, so they lived elsewhere at times, and when they did live here, I remember most of my visits to their house more by the many cousins who were there instead of Grandma herself. They had twelve kids, so I had more cousins than I could count.

I’ve mentioned that Grandma didn’t write down her recipes, but I’ve found two that, according to Mom and my aunts, come pretty darn close: one for bread pudding and one for bread and butter pickles. I don’t recall her bread pudding; the first time I made the recipe, I kept baking it and baking it trying to get rid of the moistness. (Hey, I didn’t know!) I do remember her pickles, though. This recipe has won some people blue ribbons at county and state fairs, though I’m not one of them. I’ve never entered a competition; I never seem to get the timing right.

I also remember Grandma’s mashed potatoes, though not because they were outstanding. (I’m not a huge fan of mashed potatoes, but I’m sure they were delicious.) The reason they stand out comes from the summer I was ten or eleven. Grandpa’s church was in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and my family had driven up to spend a week with them. Grandma let me help fix dinner — specifically, adding milk and butter and mashing the potatoes. I got distracted and poured too much milk in, making for really watery potatoes.

Grandma, who’d worked hard in a hot kitchen, got a little miffed. It was the first time I’d ever heard her raise her voice — saying a lot, since she had all those kids and grandkids. She got over it awfully quick — after all, the potatoes were done for, so there was no sense in staying angry over it — but I’ve never mashed potatoes since then without thinking of Grandma and being very careful with the milk!

Bread and Butter Pickles

8 pounds large cucumbers, washed and cut into thick slices

8 large onions, peeled and sliced

2/3 cup canning salt

6 cups vinegar

6 cups sugar

2 teaspoons celery seed

2 teaspoons mustard seed

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1. In a large container, combine cucumbers, onions and salt. Add enough cold water to cover. Chill for two hours; drain and rinse.

2. In a large kettle, combine remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Add cucumber mixture; return to a boil, then remove from heat.

3. Ladle hot into hot jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Carefully run a non-metallic utensil inside jars to remove air bubbles.

4. Wipe jar tops and threads clean. Place hot lids on jars and screw bands on firmly.

5. Process in boiling water canner for ten minutes.

Yields ten pints.



  1. Yummers!!!! 🙂

    • They really are! Next time I get the yearning to sweat away an entire day standing at the stove/counter, I’ll give you a jar or two.

  2. I remember a person who ate nearly all of your yummy pickles one summer. And never gave your jars back.

    LOL. Doesn’t get them anymore, does she? 😉

    • Hah! I’d have to tinker with the recipe a bit — maybe add a cup or two of cayenne pepper.

      I mean, really, how tacky can she be to not give back the jars??? Especially when she was always asking for more.

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