Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fearless Females # 7--Favorite Recipe or Meal Memory

March 7 — Share a favorite recipe from your mother or grandmother's kitchen. Why is the dish your favorite? If you don't have one that's been passed down, describe a favorite holiday or other meal you shared with your family. Thank you to Lisa over at The Accidental Genealogist for supplying a month's worth of prompts celebrating Women's History Month.

Unfortunately, no family recipes have been passed down. My maternal grandmother lived alone and did not entertain. When I enjoyed a meal with Teek, it was usually out somewhere. My paternal grandmother was QUITE a cook. She took after her own mother; however her mother was a boarding house owner--cooked whatever came into her mind and could s-t-r-e-t-c-h the pot to feed any number of hungry mouths.

Grams was just such a cook. My grandfather would bring guests home for dinner and Grams would just do the "stretching the pot trick" and feed the entire table. I remember with fondness her meals....always meat and potatoes....always wonderfully delicious.

She is not the one I am choosing to blog about today. Actually, it is my other grandmother Teek....the one who didn't cook or bake....that is the subject of this memory.

Martha Marie Frederick Stark aka Teek, was a cook and baker as a wife and mother. After my Grandfather Stark died and my mother left home to set up her own family, Teek's need for making "meals" ceased. She lived alone and probably cooked the occasional dinner, but primarily relied on prepacked foods.

Now you are probably wondering why in the world I would feature her in this blog. It was her holiday fruit cocktail. For as long as I can remember, Teek would bring a holiday fruit cocktail as the appetizer to the meal. She always packaged it in two large glass jars with screw top lids. The ingredients were slices, grapefruit wedges and maraschino cherries. The juice was a combination of the orange and grapefruit juices....heavy on the grapefruit. You can probably see where I am going here.....the fruit cocktail was a lovely presentation; however VERY SOUR!

There it is....the fruit cocktail in the fancy wine glasses
and yes, that is me...the one with the sour face!

From about age 4 or 5, I can remember sitting down to Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, seeing that little bowl of Teek's fruit cocktail and dreading spooning it into my mouth. We three Hughes kids would just force it down. Even today when thinking about Teek's Fruit Cocktail we usually make a sour face--teeth clenched.

For fun, several Christmas' ago, I decided to put together the infamous fruit cocktail as a surprise for Ken and Jeff and to give my family a little taste of their ancestry. Oddly, my two sons thought it pretty good. Go figure!

© 2010, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser


  1. I fear that I am more a cook like your Teek --- at least, given my druthers.

  2. OK, you described it sufficiently, I got a sour face too!

    Goodness that is such a funny, but powerful memory.

    Grapefruit do that to ya!

  3. Now, that is a memory! We used to eat pudding and other great foots from wonderful glass compotes. My grandma kept the set in her china cabinet. There were also water glasses and wine glasses in that set. One of my daughter's has them now.