Tag Archives: family recipe friday

Family Recipe Friday Redux

Last week, I posted some Christmas cake recipes from my grandmother, her mother, and her mother-in-law. I got messages from my mom as well as two of her sisters with more information about the traditions around these dishes.

My mom wrote (in the comments):

The dark fruitcake was used for birthdays – it had two eggs. However we had another fruit cake that called for a “pound of eggs”, about 10, and this was made only for Christmas and New Year and Lillian’s birthday, December 28!

Your e-mail brought back a lot of memories – of the whole family sitting around the kitchen table late November or early December making mincemeat!

Aunts Joyce, Edith, and Lilian at Edith's graduation from University of Toronto, 1956.
Aunts Joyce, Edith, and Lilian at Edith’s graduation from University of Toronto, 1956.

My Aunt Edith emailed me to say “When we were kids, the Christmas cake was made in 3 graduated tins – like wedding cake tins.  The largest cake was for Christmas, the middle-sized one for New Year’s (Lillian’s b’day?[December 28])  and when Joyce arrived the third one, for a few years, was her birthday cake. 

My Aunt Lillian wrote that the two larger fruitcakes were for Christmas and New Year and that she got the smaller one for her birthday, perhaps until my Aunt Joyce came along some years later in mid-January.

All three sisters remembered, as my Aunt Lillian put it, “the cheap fruit cake”.  Aunt Edith wrote “[The] other siblings’ birthday cakes were the much cheaper and less fruity (i.e. no peel, almonds, pecans, cherries, etc.) fruit cakes, the ‘fruit’ being basically raisins.”  My mother remembered that the cheap fruit cake had no eggs.

Of the mincemeat: My mother wrote that it was “not at all like the one you get in cans. We liked grandmas although we also liked the other. My father got a hamper from the place where he worked [Canada Packers] at Christmas and it included mince meat in a can.” Aunt Lillian noted that 1/2 the mincemeat recipe is enough to make 2 pies.

My uncle, James Ross Gear. (1934-1957)
My uncle, James Ross Gear. (1934-1957)

Aunt Edith also commented on the handwriting of the second and third recipes, which I did not recognize: I’m not sure who printed out the other two recipes, although my guess is that it was [my Uncle] Ross.  When he was at home with nephritis, he did a variety of things like knitting at least one scarf, hooking a rug, and so on.  I think he also began to copy  some of mother’s recipes on cards to fit into a recipe box.  However, the asterisk and ‘2 1/2 tbsp’ on the pudding recipe is my addition!  

My Uncle Ross died in 1957 of kidney failure at the age of 22, and so I never got to meet him. It feels nice to have something that he wrote, if that is in fact the case.

My grandparents William Gear, Daisy Goddard, and sons Ross and Bill.
My grandparents William Gear, Daisy Goddard, and sons Ross and Bill.

 

Family Recipe Friday: Christmas Edition

When we cleared out my mother’s condo, I grabbed her recipe boxes with the intent of uploading the family favorites to share with my siblings.

I knew that there were a few cards in my grandmother’s handwriting that I wanted to save and possibly make. I’m one of the increasingly rare breed who love fruitcake and today share three Christmassy recipes.

The first is for Dark Christmas Cake. I recall these cakes arriving by mail (?) in Ottawa from my mother’s mom, Daisy Goddard, who lived in Toronto.

My Grandma Gear (Eva Daisy Goddard) in her kitchen on Nairn Ave, Toronto.

One day, I came home from school to find a syringe in the sink and the cake on the counter. My mother (a physician) had been injecting some kind of alcohol into it well in advance of Christmas so that it would have time to absorb the goodness. The recipe is in my grandmother’s handwiting.

Family Christmas recipes_0001

Next up is a recipe for Mince Meat from Daisy’s mother, Emily Minnie Price. Minnie was born in 1869 in Chester, England, the second of four children of James Dobb Price (bookkeeper) and his wife Eliza Rycroft (a grocer).

Emily Minnie Price
Emily Minnie Price

Minnie’s mother died in 1881 when she was twelve and she and her sister went to live with her maternal grandmother, Sarah Rycroft, and three of Sarah’s unmarried children, then in their 20s. Sarah was a pawnbroker with a shop at 26 Princess Street. The younger two children went to live with their paternal grandmother mother.

Minnie emigrated to Toronto in 1889 a couple of years after Sarah died and, two years later, married my grandfather, Stephen Robert Goddard. Here is her Mince Meat recipe: it has no instructions, just the ingredients, which was probably pretty common in those days.

A Christmas Pudding recipe labelled “Grandma Gear’s” was from my great grandmother Janet Forbes Morren. She was from Aberdeen and emigrated to Canada in 1899 where she married a Walter Gear in Calgary. Janet’s father, WIlliam Morren, was an engineer and was away a good bit of the time on steam ships. (The census regularly showed his civil parish as “Vessels”.) Janet’s mother, Barbara Gordon, died in 1886 when Janet was just eight years old, and she and her sister Margaret went to live with her older sister Williamina (who was 15 years her senior) in Edinburgh (then Leith North.) She ended up in Toronto (a long story for another time) and lived close by my grandmother and family.

Her Christmas Pudding recipe. Again, no instructions.

Family Christmas recipes_0002

Would love to hear from relatives who have stories or anecdotes about these recipes or these three women. The second and third recipe are in the same handwriting. Can anyone identify it? I hope to take a crack at the recipes in about six months.