My fathers mother, Grandma Donahue, that's who! She is the one who instilled in me the love of food. And not just any food — the-made-from-scratch kind of food. I barely remember my Grandmother buying anything in a box or a can. But what I do remember is that anytime Grandma Donahue was around you could bet you were going to learn to cook!
For many years when I was young my grandparents lived in Florida. When we went to visit, we always had homemade pies, fresh fish and papaya juice made from fresh papayas. When my grandfather died in 1971 my grandmother moved back to Youngstown to be near our family. Anytime we spent with Grandma, we spent hours cooking and baking. She spent time teaching us to make chicken broth from a whole chicken (eww!) and some water. While the broth took it's time cooking, we learned to make dough for the homemade egg noodles that went in to the soup. We mixed, rolled, cut and dried all our noodles. If that project was done, we went on to make homemade pizzas. And of course, every meal needed a dessert. We learned to make apple pies and apple dumplings, starting with a good, rolled out homemade crust and filling or rolling it with lots of fresh cut apples, cinnamon, butter and brown sugar.
My grandmother also brought her love to cookies in to our home. A great tradition that she started with us at a young age was making sugar cookies. We watched and helped while she made enough dough for all four of us. Each of us was able to roll out our dough and use her tin cookie cutters to create all sorts of shapes: circles, diamonds, snowflakes, a snowman and a gingerbread man. While the cookies waited to go into the oven, you could add your own touches with the green and red sugars. Grandma also made all the homemade frostings for an even extended sugar high! Every holiday, be it Valentines Day, St. Patricks Day, Halloween or Christmas, my girls and I are busy baking some sort of sugar cookie in honor of Grandma Who.