I Want Them to Bite into a Cookie and Think of Me and Smile


Today I am the proud owner of a Lanark County Interval House Cookbook that is available at the As Good As New Thrift Shop on Bridge Street in Carleton Place, Ontario. Why should I buy a cookbook when I can easily get recipes on the internet these days? To quote the cover of this delicious book, “it would not only be to honour the women of our past and present but also to ensure success in our future.”

I knew when I bought this cookbook that some congenial person had already tried and liked the recipes and it was something I could pass down to my daughters-in-laws along with a good story of days gone by. Let’s face it if the internet had intended us to follow their recipes, what would happen to grandmothers. Most importantly it raises money for Lanark County Interval House which offers shelter and support services to women and their children threatened by abuse and gender-based violence.

Janet Younghusband, volunteer at As Good As New in Carleton Place,ON.

A Cooking Story

As a child, my grandmother used to tell me all sorts of stories about the depression. Each morning she would make sandwiches for hungry people knocking on her door and her weathered screened veranda became a shelter for homeless people at night. Grammy would also take in needy families until they got on their feet. My grandfather once said that he just never knew who would be sitting across from him nightly at the dinner table.

One day she hired a homeless woman name Gladys who worked for her until she died. I was barely six years old when she passed, but I still remember her like yesterday. Gladys was an odd looking woman who tried to hide her chain smoking habit from my grandmother. She would talk up a storm while she worked with a vocabulary that young ears should have never heard.

Gladys ended up dying in her sleep in ‘the back room’ as it was called. After she died, my grandmother promptly labeled it ‘Gladys’s room’. When I was older and came home on weekends, that very room was where I slept. You have no idea how many times I thought I saw Gladys in the dark shadows scurrying around with her feather duster, and yes, still chain smoking. The room was always really cold, even in the summer, and it smelled oddly of apple crisp.

You see, Gladys could make anything out of everything. My grandmother was an apple hoarder for some reason, and always had a huge wooden barrel of apples in the shed. The top part of the bin held apples that were crisp and fresh, but, if you ventured to the bottom looking for a better apple, it was nothing but decaying fruit.

So when Gladys made apple crisp she insisted on using the older apples, and worked her magic with them. Some how the odd cigarette ashes found in that crisp gave it that “je ne sais quoi” in added flavour. So as Martha Stewart might suggest alternatives I will personally add that cigarette ashes are optional and any of my apple recipes are not endorsed by the Surgeon General.

In honour of Gladys and my grandmother I will include an apple recipe from the Lanark County Interval House Cookbook and just remember it is a great gift to give or keep for yourself, as memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.

Apple Cake with Buttermilk Sauce by Barbara Ackerman friend of LCIH
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground Tone’s® Ground Cinnamon
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1-1/4 cups vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup orange juice
2 cups chopped apple
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; set aside. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add sugar, oil, vanilla and orange juice. On low speed, blend in flour mixture. Fold in apple, walnuts and coconut. Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. tube pan. Bake at 325° for 1-1/4 hours or until the cake tests done. Invert cake onto a large plate or platter. Deeply puncture the top of the warm cake with a skewer or pick.

In a small saucepan, bring all sauce ingredients to a boil, stirring frequently. Immediately spoon 1-1/4 cups of sauce slowly over the top of the cake, then pour the remainder down the sides.

Lanark County Interval House opened in 1979 when it became apparent that even rural women were being assaulted by their husbands. They thought at first they could solve the problem in 10 years and naively wondered if all they had to do was tell people and it would stop. They came to learn how pervasive this violence was and still is.

As Good As New Thrift Shop Blog Series:

I Wear Your Grandma’s Clothes — The Thrill of the Thrift Shop

As Good As New

33 Bridge Street, Carleton Place Ontario, K7C 2V2
Phone: 613-257-7074

As Good as New Facebook page

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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