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

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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
Ingredients
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
BUTTERMILK SAUCE:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
Directions
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

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About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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