32 Comments
Jun 4, 2023Liked by Marissa Rothkopf

This post is timely for me. Yesterday my husband and I gifted his daughter her grandmother’s recipe box as a wedding gift. She nenver met that grandmother, who died in 1977, but had grown up on stories of its treasures. Most of the cards’ notes involved Crisco or gelatin, but a few surprises popped up ;)

I live in SoCal where growing blueberries is hard, but they are my favorite fruit so I’ve been babying some Zone 9 bushes and this year may actually harvest more than 100 before the raccoons beat me to them. We struggle.

And - finally, thanks for sticking with me this far - my Sicilian maternal Nana made a lemon cookie that took A LOT of lemon parts/eggs. That’s all I remember besides the fact hat they made a mean ice cream sandwich. None of my 13 cousins have the recipe; my mom searched her family’s memory vaults for years since 1980 when it was last paraded; and now we hope others have an idea... Big hugs to anyone who’s got an inkling!

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I love your post. I tried growing blueberries here in NJ...one of the top 3 states that grows blueberries...and the squirrels were very grateful to eat the 3 that grew. I gave up.

As for the sicilian lemon cookies, now I'm on a quest. That you ate them as ice cream sandwiches too. OH yum. What shape were they?

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Jun 4, 2023Liked by Marissa Rothkopf

Here’s my family recipe story. Grama Sarah (my dad’s mother) was known in the family for her mandelbrot. We kids ate them unwillingly because they tasted like cardboard. Our parents dipped them in coffee which made them palatable. Eventually my mother, whose baking skills extended to Betty Crocker mixes but who loved my dad, decided she had to learn to make the cookies he loved, so she and my dad and my aunt and my dad’s spiffy new cassette recorder (this was early 1970s) set up shop in Grama’s kitchen and recorded her as she baked. The tape eventually found its way to me, and the kids digitized it for me, but I confess that I have never actually MADE that recipe, because instead of butter my dear Grama Sarah used...are you ready?...CRISCO. So when I make mandelbrot for family gatherings, I do not use the family heirloom recipe. I call them mandelbrot but in fact they’re the biscotti from the Chez Panisse cookbook - made, of course, with butter. Lots of butter. Mmmmm good.

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ROFL. Crisco was HUGE in kosher households. Crisco actually marketed heavily to Jewish households when it first went on the market. Ooo, I think I'll do a substack on it. Be surprised.

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Fascinating!

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A dear friend, going to visit old Ohio college buddies, was going to make the Buckeye Brownies, which I would then get to taste, but she couldn't, because she realized they wouldn't travel well (on the plane). I couldn't make them because I don't have a hand mixer (or any kind of mixer, for that matter). But now, because of this blueberry coffee cake recipe, and obv, you, I am buying a hand mixer. Please be sure that a hand mixer will be necessary for all future recipes. xo

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Jun 3, 2023Liked by Marissa Rothkopf

Looks delicious, and I may just have to put a copy in my Sibley’s......and paste into my ancient, falling apart Joy of Cooking

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LOL. Nothing like a falling apart Joy of Cooking. I love that book. I have three versions.

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I have 2 versions, plus the e-book , plus a mini-copy on my Christmas tree and a copy of Streamlined cooking!

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Jul 13, 2023Liked by Marissa Rothkopf

I made this today for my 90-something yo m-i-l, who has few joys left in life. She loved it!!!! Thank you

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Jun 25, 2023Liked by Marissa Rothkopf

Almost 40 years ago I had a recipe for a pound cake. No idea where it came from nor where it went. It was, by far, the best poundcake I ever made. I’m pretty sure it took 2 sticks of butter. I remember that it said to sift the flour three times. I rarely sifted flour but decided if it said to do so three times, it was very important. It made the most wonderful cake that actually tasted better a day or two afterwards. Moist, with a very crunchy crust. I was a young married woman at the time. I would make it and divide it into thirds. One third for my husband and I and the other two thirds went to my neighbors. “Older” couples who were our neighbors. One of the couples was our landlord. I always had to borrow a sifter from one of them. One day I came home to a brown bag tied with a blue gingham ribbon. It was my own sifter. The women had been out and about and decided they’d get their cake quicker if I didn’t have to borrow a sifter. The next time I was making the cake, I had to go borrow butter. 😆

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i love this. funny story and beautifully written. esp the kicker at the end. omg. Now I want you to find that recipe. (do you still have the sifter?)

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I do indeed have the sifter! I will have it forever. The two women were sisters who married brothers and lived next door to one another. When I was going to make the cake and realized I needed butter I called each of them and their lines were busy. So I walked down and went into one’s house. They said, we gave you a sifter to make the pound cake! Yes, but I need butter….. I have a recipe that I got in Tanzania, of all places, that is the closest I’ve found. After several moves and a lot of searching I really doubt it’s under my roof. Although you never know. Maybe I should chat with Saint Anthony to see if he can locate it.

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Jun 6, 2023Liked by Marissa Rothkopf

I'm certain there was ginger in the recipe, but not sure about any other spices.

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Around the holidays, my grandmother used to make something she called Danish Bread. This was a recipe she got from my grandfather's Uncle Abou who, like my great-grandfather, was a Danish immigrant to the US in the 1860s or 1870s. As I recall it involved using plain white bread with the crusts trimmed off, and cooked in a skillet with sugar, melted butter and cinnamon, then cooled until it hardened.

I asked a Danish researcher once if this sounded familiar and he said it sounded like something that translates to Russian bread (my great-g and his brother hailed from Jutland), but that it is no longer something familiar to the Danish people.

I haven't tried to make it yet, but I'll throw it out there in case it sounds familiar to anyone else from the Scandinavian diaspora!

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I tried a search for this recipe and came up empty-handed, but I feel hopeful we will find it eventually!

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Jun 4, 2023Liked by Marissa Rothkopf

If you don't already have it, I have a recipe for Filenes blueberry muffins that was taken down by my mother-in-law probably contemporaneously when Filene's made it available... not sure the date - lmk, and it will be a while until I can get my hands on that recipe box.

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When I had Joe Cirincione (a nuclear arms specialist) on the podcast he requested blueberry muffins. I developed a recipe I love, which is in the archives, which riffs slightly off the famous Filenes one, as Joe hails from the Boston area. It was also one of my favorite podcasts I've done. There was something so sublimely odd about making blueberry muffins while talking about nuclear annihilation in matter-of-fact terms.

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kind of like turning Filene's Basement into a bomb shelter...

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Jun 3, 2023Liked by Marissa Rothkopf

Blueberry coffee cake, Blueberries for Sal and the photo of blueberries - a trifecta. I'm allergic to many fruits but not blueberries. I remember reading, over and over again, Blueberries for Sal to my daughter until she could read it. And, I lived in a house in CT on land that had previously been farmland. I found blueberry bushes on the property and viewed them as a lost treasure. I'll walk to the farmers' market tomorrow and get a lemon so I can make this recipe. Thank you.

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I would feel just as you if I found blueberry bushes! I hope you made the recipe. I'm jealous your farmers market sells lemons...you must not live on the east coast anymore!

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Jun 3, 2023Liked by Marissa Rothkopf

I recommend a 8” square or round pan for a thicker cake. Will need an extra few minutes baking time.

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Soooooooooooooooo splendid, so blue---almost as delicious as a double-head dog hair brush!

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Jun 3, 2023Liked by Marissa Rothkopf

My mom compiled a family cookbook before my grandma died. This reminds me that we need to make a new edition with the best recipes we have created or found since then

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Yes! Do it!

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😍😍😍

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I'm lucky to have all of my mom's recipes, but wish my grandmother had written down *her* recipe for gifilte fish. There are a bazillion others out there, but everyone I know has their own personal stamp that is so hard to replicate. And, an occasional opening question isn't so bad if it's really compelling. Lost family recipes qualify in my book!

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Yes! And I'm so glad you like gefilte fish. Maybe your grandmother's recipe would've made me like it. (shudders)

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Hoping to locate the recipe for molasses cookies my Granny made. They were somewhat dome shaped, almost cake-like (not hard or chewy), sometimes with raisins added or a thin frosting spread atop or sprinkled with sugar. Always found in assorted large cookie tins in her cabinet. Just divine and truly missed.

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Jun 4, 2023Liked by Marissa Rothkopf

Yes! My mom had a similar molasses cookie recipe that went missing years and years ago and mom was never able to recreate them from memory. She called them Frosted Creams. Ours were a sheet pan affair, rolled to about 1/2 thick and baked until lightly browned, then frosted with a simple confectioners sugar glaze (we called it "10-X" sugar), then cut into 2" squares. They were also cake-like, not hard or chewy. All I remember of the recipe was that you add flour to the dough until it was "just right".

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I know exactly the cookie you are thinking of. Did your Granny put much spice in them?

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