Mine are weird. Relatives that is. As a child, I would consider my parents against their siblings and other family members and wonder how I got so lucky to get as parents the only two sane people in those wacky two families. There was Great Grandmother Never Lose At Checkers because she'd dump the board over if defeat seemed imminent. Great Great Grandfather Never Seen Again who out of the blue with no note or warning woke up three of the 6 or 7 kids in the middle of the night and took off with them to parts unknown. The most hushed up family story is Cousin Who's My Father, who resembled favorite Uncle Hermit In The Woods who apparently left the woods to visit his sister-in-law at least once. The funniest stories detailed Aunt Ag and Uncle Crawford, a truly odd duck couple, she the diminutive little housewife and he the great imposing bully and definitely not a Feminist supporter. Invitations to their house for dinner were not sought out because their spousal relationship ... well. Crawford, the stories go, parked his imposing girth at the head of the table, with Ag stationed behind his right shoulder, serving fork and carving knife in hand to tend to his every want. When he wanted, he'd point at the object and grunt. In between his grunts, she stood there, entertaining herself and whatever hapless guest sat at the table by screwing up her face and sticking her tongue out at Crawford or raising the carving knife to make threatening gestures at Crawford's corpulence. Guests were expected to keep the show secret from Crawford. These are not the relatives who shared treasured family recipes so there are no heirloom recipe boxes handed down through the generations.
My mother has cookbooks. Lots of cookbooks. Some mainstays like Gladys Taber's Stillmeadow Cookbook, some oddballs like an old obscure Scottish cookbook with recipes for haggis. One year as my sisters and I were approaching the age of leaving the household, we all, unbeknownst to each other but giving my mother fits of giggles, came up with the same Great Idea and bought each other the same Christmas presents: parakeets and cookbooks. The same cookbook. The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. I had my Fannie Farmer Cookbook all the way through birthing my children and well into their growing up years. I treasured it. But it finally fell apart and large chunks were missing. It felt like losing one of those wacky but loved relatives. A couple years ago, out of the blue, my husband handed me a package, said he'd found it on the internet somewhere and thought I'd like it. Yep, inside was a Fannie Farmer Cookbook, the exact same edition as the one we all traded at Christmas that year so long ago.
Melt in a heavy frying pan or a cake pan
1/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
Spread it evenly in the pan. If desired, sprinkle with
Pecan nut meats
Put in the pan, close together
Peach halves or drained canned sliced pineapple
Sprinkle with lemon juice. Cover with
Cottge Pudding batter (p. 481)
Bake at 400* until the top is brown and crusty (about 35 minutes). Turn out on a serving dish, fruit side up. Garnish with whipped cream. Serves 6.
An adaptable recipe. For a small family bake either in cupcake tins or a small square tin. Use part for cottage pudding and frost the rest for another meal. For a richer dessert, top with whipped cream. One-egg Cake (p. 462) is excellent for cottage pudding, too.
Set the oven at 400*. Butter a shallow cake pan, 8 by 8 inches, a small angel cake pan or cupcake tins.
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teasponn salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, well beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted.
Sift gently into the flour mixture. Pour into the pan.
Bake until brown and crusty (20 to 25 minutes).
Serve warm with
Vanilla Sauce (p. 402), Creamy Chocolate Sauce (p. 399), Lemon Sauce (p. 402, Orange Sauce (p. 404), or Melba Sauce (p. 404), or with crushed and sweetened strawberries, sliced peaches or stewed blueberries.