Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Amazing Mrs B!

Once upon a time, I had a husband.  Before he was a husband, he was a much-beloved only son.  His mother, Mrs B, was an amazingly wonderful woman -- always smiling, cheerful and eager to please.  (In his 30 years, he had only one memory of her being unhappy; and being bonked on the head with a half rotten cucumber was the result.  But that's another story altogether.)  She reminded me in the best way possible of Edith Bunker:  Mr B would sit at the dinner table, peruse the expanse of it and declare:

"Mrs.  I thought you said dinner was ready.  Where's the pepper?"

Upon which, she would cheerfully jump up and giggle and run to the kitchen to fetch the pepper.  She adored Mr B; and he although he loved her, he would discover later in life that he adored her just as much as she had adored him.

She loved to have the family around her; as many as possible.  Fill that dining room with people and noise!  When my once-husband and I lived in the city, we'd go to their house 2-3 times a week to eat.  

There were 2 dishes that she made that were great -- sweet 'n' sour meatballs and her chicken and rice casserole. But other than those two, she was an awful cook!  I mean awful

We'd arrive at 5:15 for dinner, and she'd only then be taking the steaks out of the freezer.  She'd pop them under the broiler and Voila!  Within 10-15 min, we'd have grain-fed, organically raised shoe leather, complete with mealy potatoes and overcooked veg.  (Better fill up on her home-made pickles and chow-chow..... which were great!)

She was an absolute darling of a woman.  She'd be the 1st to laugh along with you at her terrible cooking.

But MAN!  
Could that woman bake!

There was always between 3 to 5 home baked items in the kitchen -- never store bought.  She made absolutely the best pound cake that I have ever tasted; they were on the table for every birthday and anniversary. Her cinnamon or lemon/lime loaves were divine; not overly sweet and always full of flavor.  Her squash and apple pies, beautiful.  And the cookies!  There were at least 2 kinds a week in the cookie tins.  

In honor of that wonderful lady who was my biggest fan and best ally in a family that could often be overpowering and judgmental, I'd like to offer up one of her favorite old-time cookies, one I often baked for her grandbabies.

Darling Mrs B's Snickerdoodles

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs 
2 tsp vanilla
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
4 Tbsp sugar
4 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  

In a small dish, stir together 4 Tbsp sugar and 4 tsp of cinnamon; set aside.

In another bowl, combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt and add to creamed mixture.  Mix and set aside.

Cream together the butter, shortening and sugar.  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.  Then add the flour mixture and mix until combined.  

Form dough into 1 1/2'' balls and roll in the cinnamon and sugar mixture.  

Place on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Bake for 7 minutes. Remove immediately from baking sheet and cool on wire rack.

Makes around 4 to 5 dozen cookies.




Mrs. B sounds like quite the character. Thanks for the recipe.

Kay G. said...

What a wonderful post! It is such a great tribute to your mother-in-law. Thanks for the recipe.

Jill said...

Cute story - you can never go wrong with Snickerdoodles!

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I haven't made snicker doodles in a long long time but do love them. What a wonderful mother in law. I'll copy the recipe and try it out!

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

What a nice and funny tribute to a lady who was part of your life and was loved.

I make Snickerdoodles often and that is pretty much the recipe I use. They are wonderful.

sabine said...

It sounds great what you tell about Ms. B., and a bit like my mother in law, who made the world best apricot dumplings.
Sabine xxx

Sweet Tea said...

Mmmmmm. Love Snickerdoodles.
Bought some at the bakery last week. Popped them into the micro for a few seconds and they tasted "almost" homemade.

TC Harris said...

Wonderful post about Mrs. B. Thanks for the yummy recipe!

Wisewebwoman said...

I would love to try recipe but can't as I don't have a STOP mechanism in place for eating such goodies so avoid :)

Mrs. B. put me in mind of my own late lamented MIL. I love people for their failings more than their gifts :)


Marguerite said...

What a sweet tribute. Sounds like a great lady. Too often I hear about bad mother-in-laws. nice to hear kind words. there must be something about that cooking v. baking thing though. My mother suffers from the same problem.

Jeanne said...

What a great story! I love Edith Bunker! Thanks for sharing the recipe.