Today is Family Recipe Friday in the genealogy blogging world, which brings to mind a simple, elegant recipe from my maternal grandmother.
My mom’s mother Liz (Stoutner) Laurence was fairly modern as grandmothers went. Just 45 when I was born, her lifetime spanned most of the 20th Century. She came of age and married in the Roaring Twenties and was still pretty active when I hit my teens in the Sixties.
Unlike my friends’ grandmothers, who appeared more traditional in their sensible house dresses, my grandmother was tall, trim and stylish — a clothes horse from a young age who would not be caught dead without a coordinated outfit, jewelry and every hair in place.
We all called her Boom — from my childhood mispronunciation of Grandma as Booma — and the family nickname seemed to capture her outgoing, no-nonsense personality.
An elegant shortcut
In her early years, when she was raising her daughters (my mom Peggy and my aunt Rita), Boom probably did a fair amount of old-style cooking from scratch — because she always turned out fantastic family meals for the holidays.
But by the time I came along, she was all about shortcuts and time-saving recipes. Boom was an early adopter of Jell-O, which made its way to the table in a variety of flavors as both a dessert and a salad. And she was always on the lookout — in newspapers, magazines and from friends and family — for quicker ways to make the old standbys.
Enter Boom’s hand-written recipe for Instant Jubilee Sauce, which I found tucked away in her carefully painted recipe box (she was also an artist who taught Early American Tole Painting.)
Did she copy it from a printed recipe? From a cookbook? Or was it dictated by a friend or relative? I have no way of knowing. But typical of my grandmother’s style, the recipe is as simple as it is elegant, and I decided to make it for the holidays last year.
A ruby red holiday treat
The key to to the recipe’s success is finding just the right cherry preserves — dark, sweet and jewel-colored — so the finished sauce is a deep, ruby red when it cascades down the vanilla ice cream over which it is served.
I tried it out at my annual trim-a-tree party in December, to the oohs and aahs of my gathered guests. With plenty of port still on hand, I made another batch and brought it to a neighbor’s New Year’s Eve party.
“I hope you didn’t have to spend too much time in the kitchen cooking this sauce,” she said, apologizing for the late notice about her impromptu get together.
I had to smile. This was just the sort of comment my grandmother would have loved to hear about a shortcut recipe that could not be distinguished from its more complicated counterparts.
And preparing and serving Boom’s Instant Jubilee Sauce was a special treat for me — like having her along for the holidays one more time!
© 2016 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.