From Bucks County, Pennsylvania
By Carrie J. Gamble
Every year around Mother's Day I begin to reminisce about past Mother's Days and my relationships with my mother and grandmother. The friendship and love the three of us share is a very special part of my life. We have confided in each other and shared the good times and the bad. They have shared so much about our family history – countless stories of days gone by and of “living life the old fashioned way.”
I was thinking about mother/daughter relationships the other day and a thought popped into my mind. Instead of thinking about MY relationship with my mother and grandmother, I began thinking about my grandmother, Elizabeth, and the loving relationship she had with her mother, Anna.
Elizabeth loved telling stories about her life and had such vivid memories of her childhood. As a na ve German girl growing up on a farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, she was accustomed to the ethnic foods made by her German-Hungarian mother. Anna came to America from “the old country” and raised her family on the foods they ate over there. There were lots of dumpling and noodle recipes as well as potatoes and vegetables in season. They never had much meat, once or twice a week and of course on Sundays.
Elizabeth was absolutely enchanted when she went to school and discovered “all of the wonderful things” her girlfriends brought in their lunches! She would tell her mother about them and from this they got new ideas. One such new idea was a pie! They had never heard of pies before as they were not made in the old country. Elizabeth and Anna tried their hand at their first pie – Butterscotch. Everything was baked in the old coal/wood stove which created a unique flavor. They were so pleased with themselves! This was around 1918 when Elizabeth was eight years old. And this was just the beginning of her life long love affair with cooking and baking.
For Mother's Day this year I would like to honor Elizabeth and Anna, my grandmother and great-grandmother by sharing two of their favorite and very old recipes with you – Hungarian Cheese Noodles and Butterscotch Pie. Enjoy! And Happy Mother's Day!
Hungarian Cheese Noodles
You can use store bought noodles or make your own. To make your own take 2 cups flour and make a well in the center. Add 2 eggs, pinch of salt and enough cold water to make a stiff dough. Mix until you have a stiff dough. Roll into 2 balls. Flour tabletop or cutting board and roll out each ball to about 1/8 inch thick. Put flakes (rolled out dough) on a clean towel and leave them to dry about 1/2 hour. In the meantime, mix 1 pound cottage cheese, pinch salt, dash of pepper and 1 teaspoon sugar. Set aside. When flakes are dry sprinkle with flour. Cut into 3” strips. Lay one on top of another and cut 1/2 inch to make noodles. Boil water with tablespoon of salt. Drop noodles into the boiling water. Boil about 5 minutes. Drain. Place noodles into a bowl with the cottage cheese mixture. Combine. Using 2 or 3 slices of bread make crispies by tearing off small pieces and frying in 1 tablespoon oil or butter until golden brown. Sprinkle crispies over noodles. You may also sprinkle with some more sugar on top to bring out the flavor. A surprisingly delicious dish!
Carrie J. Gamble is co-author, editor and publisher of Grandmother's Cookbook, a collection of recipes, treasured memories, wildflower watercolors and feelings from the heart.