<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\0757793856\46blogName\75Orangette\46publishMode\75PUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\46navbarType\75BLACK\46layoutType\75CLASSIC\46searchRoot\75//orangette.blogspot.com/search\46blogLocale\75en\46v\0752\46homepageUrl\75http://orangette.blogspot.com/\46vt\0757514811248055359532', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>


Her recipe box

Well. That was not at all what I planned for the month of April.
So long, April. So long, plans.

I want to get this show back on the road. I’ve missed being here, and I’ve missed you. But before we go any further, I want to offer a long overdue thank you to those who came to my readings last month. I thought I had a great time on my first tour, but somehow, I had an even better time this year, despite the fact that I was dealing with a whopping case of laryngitis and could hardly speak. I hope you could hear me, and that you enjoyed it. It made me so happy to meet you. I’ll be high on that well into next year, I think. Which is a good thing, because there won’t be any more touring until I write another book, and writing books takes a while. I’ll keep you posted.

Also, I want to thank you for your very kind comments and e-mails about my grandmother. Nanny, as we called her, passed away on April 15. She’d been slowly declining for a number of years, but the last two were particularly hard for her, and hard for us, and when she got a cold in early April, we knew she couldn’t withstand it. It’s never easy to lose someone, but in this case, to be honest, I’m relieved. She was ready. She’d wanted to go, and she was very vocal about that. If anything, I’m sad that she had to go through so much discomfort, and wait so long, before she could get her wish. I’m happy that she’s free. She’s with my grandfather now, her husband of almost fifty years, who passed away in 1992. I’ll bet they’re elated. Can you imagine? What a reunion.

After she was gone, we had to clear out her apartment, which meant dividing up her belongings. I came home with a lot of photographs. Nanny was very good about writing dates and names and any relevant notes on the back of family photographs, but she wrote only “Feb ‘51” on this one. By the date, I’m guessing that she’s holding her youngest child. I love her hair. I can’t imagine having a baby, plus six other young children running around, and having hair that good. I have only a dog, and a restaurant, if that counts, and my hair is a disaster.

That aside, I also got to keep her recipe box. I know she would like that.

It’s made of enamel, and it’s sturdy and heavy, filled with index cards and newspaper clippings separated into categories by stout green partitions. I flipped through it and was thrilled to find a few dinner party and cocktail party menus among the recipes, jotted on slips of white paper. I can now tell you that on Sunday, December 30, 1984, she and my grandfather had guests in from 3 to 6 pm, and she served:

Smoked Turkey + Rolls
Phyllis Dip
Crudite + Spinach Dip
Chocolate Chip bread
Fruit cake.

She must have served a lot of fruit cake, because I found it listed on other menus, too. I had no idea she was so into fruit cake. I also found the following recipe in the appetizers section, and I have to type it up for you exactly as it was written, because it would be a shame not to share the wealth:

Bowl of peanuts + raisins

Man, I love that. I love Nibbler.

But most crucial for our purposes, I found a recipe for something called Cinnamon Toast. I know you’re sitting there like, Riiiight. Cinnamon toast. Tell me something I haven’t heard, but bear with me, because this is different. It’s not bread that you toast and then butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. It’s bread that you cut into triangles, generously coat on both sides with melted butter, dredge in cinnamon sugar, and then bake until crisp. You can keep them in a tin on the counter, where they actually get better with a day or two of age, and you eat them like cookies. I don’t know where the recipe originally came from, but it was written in what I think is my aunt Millicent’s handwriting. My mother tells me that she also has it, and that she’s had it for years. She used to make it all the time, she says, particularly when she was having a morning meeting and wanted something to serve with coffee. I don’t remember ever eating it, and to be frank, I sort of had a hard time believing it could be worth a real, written recipe. I mean, it’s CINNAMON TOAST. But I tried it yesterday, and I was wrong. Nanny, Mom, Millicent, I was wrong. I was so wrong. Next, I’m making Nibbler.

You should try this recipe. I’ve never had anything quite like it. The premise is simple, and so are the ingredients, but it sort of defies categorization. The bread gets crisp and crunchy, and the butter gives it some richness, and the cinnamon sugar caramelizes lightly, going almost lacy at the edges. My mother says it’s “like cinnamon candy,” but to me, the overall experience is closer to a snickerdoodle cookie. Only easier, and faster, and crunchier. Which is to say, I like it even better.

Cinnamon Toasts

This recipe in its original form calls for dipping the bread in butter. On both sides. I tried it, and the bread got so saturated that it sort of terrified me. There was a LOT of butter in that little piece of bread. I found that brushing on the butter is a more moderate, palatable approach, and it still works very well. Either way, you’re going to use quite a bit of butter, and please don’t freak out about that. If it helps, keep reminding yourself that this is not breakfast; this is a cookie. Make it your mantra.

Also, the original version of the recipe calls specifically for Pepperidge Farm white bread. My grocery store didn’t have any, so I used Franz brand “Milk and Honey” bread instead. Whatever brand you use, make sure that it’s not too squishy and spongy. The quantities of butter and cinnamon sugar listed below should be pretty close to perfect for six slices of sandwich bread, but if you have extra butter or sugar, just use more bread.

1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, cubed
6 slices white sandwich bread, or more as needed
½ cup sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 325°F. If you want, line a baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil. It makes cleanup easier.

Put the butter into a pie plate or similar baking dish. Slide the dish into the oven, and keep an eye on it. You’re looking for the butter to melt completely.

Stack the slices of bread, and then cut them diagonally into quarters. You should have 24 triangles.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon. Turn the cinnamon sugar out onto a dinner plate, or another pie plate.

When the butter is melted, remove it from the oven, and brush it onto both sides of a triangle of bread. Don’t be shy: apply the butter generously, so no spot is left uncoated. The bread should feel a little heavy in your hand. Dip the bread into the cinnamon sugar, taking care to coat both sides. Lay it on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pieces of bread.

Bake the toasts for about 25 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer to a rack. The toasts will crisp as they cool. When cooled, store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Note: These taste best with a little age. When I tasted them on the day they were made, they were just okay, but by the next day, the flavors had come together nicely.

Yield: 24 pieces


Blogger Margarita said...

I find these cute old recipes to be gems in our modern day world!

11:18 PM, May 01, 2010  
Blogger Vanessa said...

It's so wonderful to hear from you Molly. Thanks or the beautiful and touching post on your grandmother - it's so wonderful you have the recipes as a link between you. Even if you'll miss her, I agree that it's better not to have her suffer any longer - my grandmother wasn't the same at the end and couldn't really do anything. I'm so glad you have the photos and her writing to keep her memory alive.

11:23 PM, May 01, 2010  
Anonymous Mark @ Cafe Campana said...

How sad and wonderful at the same time. Her recipe box is such a personal item that can be shared forever. What a great legacy to leave behind.

11:37 PM, May 01, 2010  
Anonymous Ksenia said...

I missed your posts, really :) I know I've told it before, but I just love your writing style ^^

And those Cinnamon toasts sound terrific!

We don't have Earth Balance (which I'd like to try) here in Spain, but I've bought some olive oil margarine that would go very well with this (I know, I know...for some of you it's a kind of sacrilege to don't use real butter, but being vegan is that or oil. Wich is tasty too, by the way :P)

Nevertheless, I think I'll wait until I'm able to run (damn shin splints) so I can burn some of the extra calories ;)

And I'm sorry about your grandmother. But you're right: at least now she can rest. My grandmother died four years ago on 8th March.

My mother got an e-mail from Russia, but she couldn't read anything because of the wrong codification (cyrilic).
She supposed they were wishing a happy Women's Day to her.

Month later, she discovered the e-mail was about her mother's death. She missed the funeral (we live in Spain) and felt very depressed because she couldn't see her before she died.

So it's important that at leat you could be next to her :)

PS: Sorry for the long comment :P

11:59 PM, May 01, 2010  
Blogger Jacqueline said...

Hi Molly,
Lovely to have you back! Your photos, as usual, are completely enchanting.
I absolutely LOVE cinnamon toast. I'm not even thinking twice an eyelash about making these tomorrow...

12:35 AM, May 02, 2010  
Anonymous Kate said...

I have just finished reading your book, and the section where you wrote about your father passing away was so moving and beautiful.........Your grandmother sounded like a vibrant and lovely woman and to have her recipe box is really nice. I think the recipe for Nibbler is absolutely gorgeous.........

12:47 AM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger Kathryn said...

This strikes me as one of the simplest, most beautiful posts I have read in quite a while. I am sorry for your loss but I also understand the relief. And, as I'm sure you know, the best way to remember is to keep the memory alive, and I can't think of a better way to do that than with food.

Best wishes Molly.

1:57 AM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger Aubrey said...

lovely post--i've missed reading them. so sweet about your grandmother. she does indeed have killer hair in that photograph. her recipe box is lovely too, and i agree that there's something wonderful about old recipes and cookbooks. i love perusing my grandmother's stash from the 60s and 70s, even if the recipes themselves are somewhat dubious casseroles involving ground beef, or gelatin molds garnished with miracle whip.

2:21 AM, May 02, 2010  
Anonymous Pam said...

Hello! I randomly picked up your book at the library the other day and I love it! I'm going to try out your ratatouille recipe soon.

I'm so excited to have found your writing!

2:21 AM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger lostpastremembered said...

I lost my mother last year and finding the cookbooks and recipes... well it just makes you feel like they live on in flavors and memories...revivified, actually. It is a beautiful thing to inherit... and to think, one day you can share them with your child! Great recipe for the toast... I imagine tea with that right now!

3:03 AM, May 02, 2010  
Anonymous Victoria Carr said...

Oh, Molly,

I have been thinking about you ever since you wrote that your grandmother was not doing well.

My grandmother was Nanny too. My friend Polly had a Nanny. We always say "Nannys are the best." How lucky for you to have had one.

My Nanny was also ready to "go" when her time came. She always said she was going to live unti she was 150. One night, when she was the last of her generation left, she was staying with me, and I happened to hear her saying her prayers.

"OK, God. I was only kidding."

Thanks for sharing these notes about yours - and her recipes! Those cinnamon toasts sound like a treasure. I'm going to make them - right after I make your blueberry bundt cake.

3:32 AM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger Dyche Designs said...

So sorry to hear about your grandmother. Losing a loved one is always hard, even if they're ready to go, so my heart goes out to you and your family.

How beautiful to have her recipe box and to recreate some of the dishes that she used over the years.

3:55 AM, May 02, 2010  
Anonymous Jessica @ How Sweet said...

Recipes like these are what thrill me. I have many from grandmothers as well!

4:20 AM, May 02, 2010  
Anonymous Jessica said...

Hello Molly,
I was so amazed to read that you called your grandmother Nanny! We called mine that too, but I never heard or read of anybody else who did. Your post made me cry. So good that you have so many wonderful memories of her, and that she left onle once she was ready.

4:20 AM, May 02, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for you loss, Molly. The recipe books looks fabulous, I am sure it will keep many memories alive. I'm too keen to try the recipe; it seems to be quite simple and am sure rather delicious. I just purchased a copy of your book when I was on vacation in NYC, I'm back in Kuwait now and I cant wait to start reading as soon as I'm done with my reading material for school.

love & hugs from Kuwait

4:30 AM, May 02, 2010  
Anonymous Julie @ Willow Bird Baking said...

Love to you and your family! What wonderful treasures you have to remember your Nanny by!

5:01 AM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger Shelly said...

That recipe box - what a treasure! I have an old ledger that was designed for keeping household accounts that has recipes from my mother's side of the family, filled with the tried and the true. You can almost feel the ladies looking over you when you use it...a chance to learn cooking in their kitchens again.

5:05 AM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger Barbara said...

Hello from one of your readers, first time commenter --
your post about your grandmother was beautiful and the photo and recipe box is a lifetime tribute to her. I have to say the only way I made and loved cinnamon toast was simplly toasting bread
(sometimes raisin bread), apply butter and watch it melt, sprinkle a mixture of sugar and cinnamon.
I look forward to your posts.
Best wishes,

5:15 AM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger Louise Blossfeld said...

i'll just say: thank you for an inspiring blog! And really eautiful pictures.


5:20 AM, May 02, 2010  
Anonymous Inge said...

You really look like her, don´t you!

5:58 AM, May 02, 2010  
Anonymous Rachel (Hounds in the Kitchen) said...

Welcome back! I've missed your posts.

The cinnamon toast sounds great! When we were in upstate Michigan for a vacation, we stopped by Trenary Toast. It's a shop that does nothing but make a very crisp baked bread. We were fascinated that anyone could make a business of just toast, but the product was undeniably delicious. http://www.trenarytoast.us/

6:12 AM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger Blair said...

I am so glad you had fun on your book tour. I was at the sigining at Posman's books in NYC and had a great time (I asked you a question about your photography...)! I am so sorry to hear about your Grandmother, but thank you so much for sharing her story and recipes! My grandmother used to make me cinnamon toast when I had trouble sleeping, so your recipe brought back lots of memories! Thank you!

6:32 AM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger 12th Man Training Table said...

I have never thought about it before, but I'm thinking everyone's grandma has at least one recipe in her collection for something like Nibbler. Someone should collect all of them into one book.

6:45 AM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger ErikaKay said...

What a great gift she left behind for you. Thanks for sharing some of the recipes with us!

6:55 AM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger Ciao Chow Linda said...

Such a very touching post Molly. We are lucky when we have relationships that give us happiness when the loved one is alive, and doubly blessed when even after a death, we are reminded of that person's goodness. Thanks for sharing.

7:15 AM, May 02, 2010  
OpenID jillbert said...

How wonderful to have your grandmother's recipe box. I've been organizing recipes on my computer, and that's not quite the same.

I eat Nibbler all the time! I didn't know it had a name, but that's what I'll call it from now on. It's a fantastic pick-me-up snack.

7:20 AM, May 02, 2010  
Anonymous LaurieA-B said...

Did you find a recipe for "Phyllis Dip"? I am so curious to know what Phyllis Dip is. The possibilities are endless.

Pepperidge Farm bread is a good thing; I wish they sold it out here. The Cook's Illustrated best recipe for grilled cheese sandwich (I know--grilled cheese sandwich, who needs a recipe, right? But this recipe taught me to brush on melted butter and used shredded cheese) also calls for PF white sandwich bread.

7:30 AM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger Alison said...

I just dicovered your blog through my friend Ashley. I also just started reading your book and love it. It is inspiring in many ways!

So sorry about your grandma. I'm glad you can celebrate her and remember her through her recipes. The cinnamon toast sounds so yummy and I will be making it for my boys soon, maybe it will become a part of our family too!

7:40 AM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger vicki said...

Love reading this new post...to learn that your grandmother was ready to slip into the next chapter.
And, can't wait to try this.

7:51 AM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger Ivy/Anna said...

So sorry to hear about the loss of your grandmother, but I'm happy to know you are relieved she is no longer suffering. We have my husband's grandmother's recipe box, which I love because she wasn't much of a cook. She has a recipe for how to make Constant Comet tea. Someday I hope to frame it.

8:04 AM, May 02, 2010  
Anonymous Janna said...

So, so lovely that part of her will always be with you through the magic of her recipe box.

8:26 AM, May 02, 2010  
Anonymous SeattleDee said...

Welcome back and thanks for the lovely grandmother post. There must be a Cinnamon Toast vibe in the air when you and thepioneerwoman both post about it's lure in the same week. Some pleasures are widespread and timeless.

8:38 AM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger Christine said...

I'm so sorry about your grandmother. Cleaning out someone's belongings after they've passed is such a beautiful, difficult, bittersweet type of thing.
I'm so glad you got her recipe box (which is ADORABLE!), and can keep such a personal little part of her with you to recreate.
I'll have to try those cinnamon toasts-- yum!

8:54 AM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger claire said...

molly, this is awesome. i also can't wait to come over to yours for nibbler. x

9:10 AM, May 02, 2010  
Anonymous Suzy said...

I inherited two things when my grandma passed away. I was 17. This sounds silly, but I got her "Diamond Deb" nail file (it's classy) and, of course, her wooden recipe box. All recipes written out in longhand on little cards. Bishop's Pie. Teresa's Spaghetti. Rice Pudding. It's such a treasure to me, and I'm sure yours is a treasure to you. It's like she's there cooking with you when you make the cinnamon toast.

9:26 AM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger Kate Schirg said...

It's great to have you back, Molly. Withouth fail, EVERYtime I read one of your posts I want to drop what I'm doing immediately and make the latest dish you write about. You have a gift for reminding me that cooking and baking are so joyful when done with love instead of approaching new recipes with the same trepidation I might reserve for dangerous chemistry experiments. Thank you for sharing these gems from your grandmother and your other delightful family members!

9:29 AM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger The French said...

Love this post. And it's so cool that you have her recipes! In many ways, a recipe box is like a diary, a window into the lives of those who've gone before us. Can't wait to make that cinn toast!

9:45 AM, May 02, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your cinnamon toasts sound wonderful--and they're very similar to a recipe Pioneer Woman Cooks just published. See http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen/recipes/breads/cinnamon-toast-the-right-way/

I've printed both of them and plan on trying them as soon as my husband bakes another batch of bread.

Thank you!


9:53 AM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger Amanda Hawkins said...

I love the recipe box! Thanks Molly, this post reminds of my own grandmother now passed, and her plethora of odd recipes that were such a part of her generation (the cheesy salsa dip, the baked beans, the 'dump' cake). The cinnamon toast is definitely a winner though--beats Velveeta by a long shot!

10:02 AM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger emily said...

What a tender post. Found myself sighing those sweet sighs when reading something well written and bitter sweet. Thanks for coming back and sharing the wealth. I love that your Nanny recorded so many precious details on the back of photographs and slips of paper.

10:24 AM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger Foy Update - Garden Cook Write Repeat said...

Strange the last post I read from Pioneer Woman was also about cinnamon toast. A similar recipe except butter only on one side and she was serving it for breakfast.

I have also got my grandmother’s recipes and my husband’s grandmother’s recipes and even some from his great grandma including a book of recipes by First Lady Mrs. Eisenhower - absolutely a stitch to read. And there are some recipes I've ear marked to try. Although I think I’ll skip the one that start by browning a pound of ground beef in a stick of butter.

10:28 AM, May 02, 2010  
Anonymous Micheline said...

I found your blog almost by mistake (as so many great web finds are found). I was link hopping… you know how it is.

I was sorry to hear about your Nanny. I have a Nanny too and, I have to say, they are some pretty special people.

You were so lucky to get her box of recipes. What a treasure. I'm sure she's smiling and reminiscing while she watches you explore that box. I was also lucky enough to get an heirloom recipe box. It belonged to my husband's grandmother. I'm putting a link here because I can tell that you're a girl who appreciates these kinds of things.

Your blog is beautiful but even more than that I was drawn in by the stories and the exquisite writing.


10:30 AM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger SaNdY said...

Molly, first I want to extend my sympathys to you and your family on the loss of your grandmother, so sorry for your loss...how lovely that you are now the owner of your grandmother's enamel recipe box chock full of her recipes, what a treasure! Secondly, I read your gem of a book on the train going to visit my kids in Chicago....I absolutely loved it! I would sometimes stop while reading it, so I wouldn't finish it sooner than I wanted to! And thirdly, I adore your blog! Thanks, Molly! :D

10:46 AM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger Megan said...

So happy you're back!

My mom has a recipe box that dates back to her early years of marriage. It's decoupaged (or modge podged, I think she would say) with cut-out photos of food from magazines. Some of the recipes are tucked into individual plastic sleeves. It's gotten kind of grody over the years, and I love it. I'm going to take a photo of it to show you.

11:15 AM, May 02, 2010  
Anonymous emily said...

we love cinnamon toast, and this sounds like a perfect afternoon snack. putting sliced bread onto my grocery list.

11:25 AM, May 02, 2010  
Anonymous emily said...

and i forgot to say (because i was typing while trying to stop a child from playing with my camera) how perfectly perfect it is that you have her recipe box. when my aunt died a few years ago, i got to keep my great-grandmother's rolling pin. treasure.

11:27 AM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger Deanna said...

You've inspired me to go through the various recipe boxes I have sitting around. I have my grandmas and my aunts and if they have any gems like this I can't wait.

I thought that having a blog was kind of a recipe box, but there is something about a yellowed piece of paper stained with oil that I love. I have to start a recipe box.

11:47 AM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger Pondside said...

A grandmother's recipe box has to be just about the best inheritance one could have.
Off to try the cinnamon toast recipe!

12:51 PM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger Aimée said...

She sounds like the coolest grandmother ever. I love that you got to keep her recipe box, but now I'm wondering what happened to my grandmother's recipe boxes...

Nibblers. Wow.

12:56 PM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger Pergolina said...

dear molly loved your words about your grandmother i have my grams recipie box
all rec. written in broken english she was from puglia italy loved to bake and share
how lucky you are to have that box her spirit will live through you

2:16 PM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger Buffra said...

Sorry to hear about your grandmother.

Lovely post and memories of her, though.

2:20 PM, May 02, 2010  
Anonymous mina's mommy said...

condolences on your grandmother's passing, but you shared in such a beautiful way how she managed to live with balance and gusto, and clearly organized her foods.

fruit cake...i don't even know how i would begin to bake one of those.

2:20 PM, May 02, 2010  
Anonymous Louise said...

Thank you for sharing that very sweet story. I love the cinnamon toast idea... It's those simple flavors that stand the test of time. You always seem to have bread sugar and butter...cute

2:39 PM, May 02, 2010  
Anonymous Betsy Gluten Freedom said...

I love family recipes. Such stories and memories associated with them. Food is so much more special when there are people that it reminds us of. Thanks for sharing.

2:56 PM, May 02, 2010  
Anonymous Alan Feingold said...

Glad to have you back! When my grandmother passed away, I inherited her cookie jar (which was always full if chocolate chip cookies) and her recipe box. She didn't write much down, but her recipe for noodle kugel with apricot preserves was there. I always remember her when I make her kugel.

3:29 PM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger H. Kathleen said...

Oh, Molly, my 85 year old Mom's recipe box is the very same one as your grandma's. Isn't it wonderful? She and I laugh about her doing all that entertaining in a girdle and no AC and three kids. We are soft, eh?

3:36 PM, May 02, 2010  
Anonymous Kelly said...

Molly, so sorry about your grandmother...I too have THE EXACT SAME RECIPE BOX from my grandmother! Plus her other wooden box containing only canning and preserving recipes. I would kill to make her mustard pickles and have them taste the same! But the notes in her handwritng about the lawn fetes and grange suppers magically make her materialize in front of me-I hope that happens to you too.

4:11 PM, May 02, 2010  
Anonymous Teddi Wareham said...

Molly - I am sorry about your grandmother - you will miss her but she will live on in your memory and her recipe box. Thank you for sharing. I made your "Winning Hearts & Minds Cake" for a dinner party last night and it was a HIT!! Thank you for sharing and welcome back - I have missed you. I hope you will come to Denver someday for a book signing and talk - I would love to meet you. I throughly enjoyed your book.

4:14 PM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger gnomeInTheWall said...

Sorry to hear about your grandmother. Mine passed away last June. It's so special that you got her recipe box. I love the things I got from mine...some hair-clips that make me feel special when I wear them among other things.

Can't wait for the Ballard talk!

4:40 PM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger mia said...

I made the cinnamon toasties today, and they're perfect! I'm digging in my heels to try them tomorrow, what with your promise of them aging beautifully overnight. I still have your vanilla bean buttermilk cake on the counter, too... I have a lot of eating and sharing to do!


5:18 PM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger michaela said...

I am very sorry for your loss.

Aslo, I am disappointed that I missed the readings here in Tacoma as I was out of town. Any more? Pretty please? With cinnamon and sugar on top?

5:21 PM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger owl and peacock : melina said...

I'm so sorry about your grandmother, Molly, my condolences to you and your family! But you have a wealth of beautiful memories (which - and i'm sure everyone can agree with me - we love the fact that you're open enough to share with us); and that is invaluable, as well as forever.

5:57 PM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger Heather @36 balloons said...

Oh what sweet words. I miss my own Gram dearly. I must make some cinnamon toasts for my kiddos this week. The only time I've done them that way was ages ago when I used them in a yummo apple-cheddar bread pudding.

6:31 PM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger Alex said...

Molly, your Nanny and mine are getting along fabulously. I inherited her boxes last April. They, too, are packed with newspaper clippings, index card recipes, and hand-written menus from her teas and dinner parties. On December 30, 1988 she served seven guests a luncheon of wine, cheese biscuits, creamed dried beef over toast points, cheese grits souffle, curried fruit, relish, vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce and crushed peppermint, and ginger cookies. I treasure these menus more than her recipes, and hope to entertain with as much class as our grandmothers.

7:00 PM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger jenifer lake said...

your writing always somehow makes me well up, & subsequently chuckle, i guess that's a really good thing :) thanks!

7:22 PM, May 02, 2010  
Anonymous D. @ Outside Oslo said...

So sorry to hear about your loss, though it's good to hear you're relieved as well. I understand, knowing that my own dear grandmother went to be with the love of her life last summer.

The best to you, and how special to have those special memories of hers!

7:30 PM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger Kitchen Blossoms said...

I'm so glad you are back Molly. Your absence spoke louder than posts would have about what you were dealing with. While you were gone I picked up your book, which I LOVE, and started a blog of my own with a Weight Watchers focus (http://wwfoodie.wordpress.com/). Anyway, I have some of my great grandmother's recipe cards and they are such a treasure. Even though most of them are things we wouldn't eat today. I can just see her using them. Thank you for sharing with us and I hope you are feeling peaceful.

7:31 PM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger Lauren said...

Grandma's recipes area always the best. Thanks for sharing yours.

8:27 PM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger RNMel said...

Welcome back. You have been missed.

8:47 PM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger Megan said...

Beautiful post, Molly. I'm sad you lost your Nanny but glad she was ready to go.

PS I love your hair and I don't think it's a disaster at all!

9:22 PM, May 02, 2010  
Anonymous DessertForTwo said...

Thanks for sharing your lovely story. I also inherited my grandmother's recipe box. It's a mess of papers with lots of chicken scratch and half English- half Czech notes. But it's my most favorite possession. If my house was on fire, I'd grab it first. Welcome back!

9:34 PM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger natalia said...

i am so sorry for your loss, but having that recipe box with you is like having her right then in your kitchen with you.
how truly wonderful.

10:47 PM, May 02, 2010  
Anonymous Elsa said...

Molly, I'm so sorry for your loss and so grateful to you for sharing with us the memories and meditations that you're going through.

Your Nanny's recipe for cinnamon toast sounds like such a simple, comforting dish. In the already-outdated children's books I grew up with, there was always a grandmother or a governess or a friendly neighbor lady who kept a batch of zweiback in the cookie tin; though I never tasted the stuff as a child, I always imagined this storybook zweiback was just exactly how you describe your Nanny's cinnamon toast.

Take care.

11:22 PM, May 02, 2010  
Anonymous The Leftoverist said...

Welcome back! What a treasure, to get that old recipe box. The Nibbler recipe is priceless. Thanks for sharing all these tidbits with us.

11:33 PM, May 02, 2010  
Blogger Victoria said...

I'm sorry to hear about your nanny. Touch wood I have not yet lost anyone close to me (grandparents were overseas and never known to me), but I do imagine losing someone who has lived a long and happy live and lived to a grand old age, is somehow easier and more as it should be. What riches to be left too, so, so precious. Of all the things I would want of my own parents, the books, the recipes, those are the most prized.

12:51 AM, May 03, 2010  
Anonymous Helen said...

I'm glad you're back. How lovely that you have got your Nan's recipe box, a great reminder of her. It sounds like she was a great cook too.

1:18 AM, May 03, 2010  
Blogger Foodessa said...

My very first time making a comment on your site. Of all things...I never thought that a post was going to get me on two profound subjects:
My dearest Nonna who we finally had to let go at a very young 95 years of age and cinnamon toast!!!
It brought it all back. Something so simple...yet many memories attached. If, I'm not mistaken, I think she also added a spot of nutmeg.
I will save your recipe since I know my Nonna most probably would not have had this on paper ;0(
Thank you for sharing,

2:46 AM, May 03, 2010  
Blogger linda said...

your tribute to your grandmother was beautiful...just beautiful.

3:37 AM, May 03, 2010  
Blogger Thais said...

I love the idea of having a recipe box, updated with every new recipe and all the details of every meal I offer. It's great! I'm so sorry for your loss, it's wonderful that you can keep some peaces of her memory with you.

4:30 AM, May 03, 2010  
Blogger jen said...

what a treasure that recipe box is! and your photo of it is lovely too. i am sure she is happier now and having a wonderful reunion. xo

5:28 AM, May 03, 2010  
Anonymous Robyn said...

I'd love to be able to say I have an 'Aunt Millicent'... :-)
This post was perfumed with the most beautiful nostalgia.

6:14 AM, May 03, 2010  

Hi Molly!

I'm glad you're back. I always look forward to your posts! The cinnamon toast sounds delightful!

7:12 AM, May 03, 2010  
Anonymous my little expat kitchen said...

Welcome back Molly!
I'm sorry to read about your grandmother but having her recipes is such a wonderful link between the two of you, apart from the memories you shared that you'll always have. Seeing the photo of your grandmother I couldn't help but notice that you look a lot like her!
I'll definitely make the cinnamon toast. It sounds delicious.

7:16 AM, May 03, 2010  
Blogger Leila said...

Your grandmother sounds like a lovely lady. I'm sure she's happy wherever she is! Thank you for sharing stories about her and her recipes with us.

7:25 AM, May 03, 2010  
Blogger emily.nickerson@gmail.com said...

I am sorry for your and your family's loss, but I am happy for your Nan and her love. :) Thanks for the post.

7:33 AM, May 03, 2010  
Anonymous Rosemary said...

I can think of few pleasures as intimate as sharing your grandmother's recipe box. What a treat that must be! Being privy to anyone's recipe collection is like being given the passcode to a diary; when it's someone you love and respect, the pleasure is all the more.

Please accept my condolences.

And welcome back.

8:34 AM, May 03, 2010  
Anonymous Lorene said...

oh. my. That sounds amazing. I'm going to a. make cinnamon toasts & b. write the recipe down and put it in my "Nana's" recipe file which I treasure (even tho I tend to misplace it for months on end...just found it last weekend - on the basement workbench??!?) Nana would love cinnamon toasts... her favorite saying when life grew complicated was "let's talk about something good to eat"

8:45 AM, May 03, 2010  
Blogger Karen said...

This recipe sounds wonderful -- what a treasure to have her old recipe box.

9:49 AM, May 03, 2010  
Anonymous ellina said...

Moly, I'm sorry for your loss. I'm sure no-one would have cherished her recipe box more than you. I made these "cinnamon toast cokies".I went a bit heavy on the sugar, I think, because I had to put some more in my bowl for the last pieces of bread, and then overbaked a bit, but it was a huge success, and I loved it even straight form the oven! thank you for sharing your grandmother's recipe with us. xxx

10:37 AM, May 03, 2010  
Anonymous annie said...

Thanks for sharing this- what a lovely rememberance. I also kept my grandmother's recipe box when she passed away a few years back, as well as a couple of her travel journals and her home ec. notebook from high school. I love looking through the housekeeping tips and recipe cards in her handwriting. Her journals are especially good; she was very matter of fact about things. The day when she got engaged to her second husband reads something like "Had lunch downtown and got my hair done. In the evening, got engaged to Ray."

10:48 AM, May 03, 2010  
Anonymous Anna @ Tallgrass Kitchen said...

I'm sorry about your Nanny, but thank you for sharing the story and some highlights from her recipe box. The Nibbler gave me a chuckle, and I cannot wait to try the cinnamon toast - my 2 yr old will love it for a treat.

11:12 AM, May 03, 2010  
Anonymous Marianne said...

What a nice surprise to see a new post from you! Sorry to hear about your grandmother. I still have one of mine...she is 93 and is still the best cook!! She still lives in her own home. Unfortunately, we lost my grandfather, her husband last summer. He was 96, fell while walking to the bathroom and died of a head injury. On a different note, I love, love, love, The Nibbler recipe. It's like a life lesson, all wrapped up in a simple little recipe.

11:13 AM, May 03, 2010  
Blogger Anne Zimmerman said...

my grandmother made this kind of thing too -- she considered it a "snack." I can remember the cookie full of sweet triangles very well.

11:13 AM, May 03, 2010  
Anonymous Shalaka said...

Seems like one of those recipes that you can make without planning, because you have all the ingredients already. It's perfect for those nights when you don't have any dessert and you need dessert (and I often need dessert).

I wonder what the next generation will say about all our recipes in our virtual recipe boxes...

11:34 AM, May 03, 2010  
Blogger Stephfret said...

I really enjoyed this post Molly. I've got a recipe book that my great-grandmother wrote, and it really cracks me up to try things like her 'Russian Cream Loaf' among other completely alien-sounding recipes. It's a great way to feel connected to people who are gone (or who in my case I never knew!)

I can picture a bunch of young couples enjoying Nibbler and cocktails over a game of Bridge back in the day (assuming your grandmother was anything like mine!) It's a nice thought, and a lovely tribute.

11:55 AM, May 03, 2010  
Anonymous KatieB said...

My kid will love the Cinnamon Toast, especially since I have trained her to love butter as much as I do.

12:09 PM, May 03, 2010  
Blogger cpcable said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your grandmother's passing, but you should know that you've commemorated her in touching and fitting ways. I read your book recently and I find your writing to be elegantly simple. Thank you for putting good things out into the world.

12:27 PM, May 03, 2010  
Blogger Jessica said...

Whenever you come back to us, you come back with something so beautiful.

Your grandmother's recipe box made me tear up and giggle. Nibbler. I can't wait to try it.

About the hair, how the heck did they DO that back then? If I have a full day, you can't pay my enough money to blow dry; yet these ladies had broods of children running around and picture perfect finger waves. Awesome.

12:36 PM, May 03, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Molly, when you left to tend to your grandmother, I went out and bought your book. So while you were gone you were still here. I have my husband's mother's recipes and have become the family go-to for her specialties. After my grandmother died and I searched for years for her way of doing things, I knew to take my mother-in-law's recipes. When I go to estate sales I often see the recipe box sitting on a small table with a ridiculously low price on it, and I take that, too, so someone will remember.

12:38 PM, May 03, 2010  
Blogger Janet said...

Welcome back Molly, you were missed. Sorry to hear about your grandmother, I hope the rest of your family is doing well.
Sometimes, the old recipes are just the best. I can see it now. During the week, some of the ladies would get together for coffee and these cookies would appear. "Oh no, I couldn't possibly, well, maybe just one." ;-)

12:55 PM, May 03, 2010  
Anonymous Joy said...

I do something very similar with just sugar and butter. This would be a great snack for my daughter.

1:03 PM, May 03, 2010  
Anonymous littleclove said...

Molly, I'm so glad you're back. Thanks for your wonderful post. I love that you get to keep your Grandmother's recipe box. I LOVE the old recipe boxes, hand-written. I have a few as well from my Grandma and her sisters. They're great. You will keep her memory (and recipes) alive!

1:10 PM, May 03, 2010  
Blogger Daisy chain tea said...

I'm soooo glad your back. I was checking everyday, just waithing for you to come back. made mt day now:) I hope your granny is having an amazing reunion with your grandad:)

1:19 PM, May 03, 2010  
Blogger Daisy chain tea said...

I'm so glad your back:) I was checking all the time hoping you'd be back soon:) Your granny's recipe book is so beautiful looking, I love it. I hope she's having a great reunion with your grandad:)

1:23 PM, May 03, 2010  
Blogger Hula Hoop da Loop said...

What a wonderful gift! I hope for the same someday. They are quite delicious and I made mine with wheat bread. Lovely little snack before my final!

1:58 PM, May 03, 2010  
Anonymous JackieDee said...

My grandma passed away on the 14th. At the funeral/wake I saw pictures of her that I'd never seen before, including one of her and my grandfather that is very "Hollywood". It made me sad to realize how much I never knew (will know) about her. I'm currently coveting an old, weird cookbook she had, hoping that the family will relinquish it to me.

Mine too was ready to go and I'm glad she's at rest, those last few years were hard on us all. The funeral and the day leading up to it were a celebration of the life she led and the life she created with dogs and great-grandchildren running around, pork shoulder tacos with pickled red onions, red wine, a walk at dusk along a hidden lake, and a house brimming with light and life.

Thanks for sharing and letting me share.

2:36 PM, May 03, 2010  
Blogger alphawoman said...

I'm thinking I will try this when I'm really craving something sweet. It sounds wonderful.

2:59 PM, May 03, 2010  
Blogger Denise | Chez Danisse said...

I adore your grandmother's recipe box. I still have a little file folder with recipes jotted on paper and some torn from magazines, but my email folder is far more full. It's a little sad. When I was growing up my mom had this great 3 ring binder full of notes and recipes. It was blue. I wonder if it's still around. I'll be here patiently waiting to hear how your Nibbler turned out : )

3:44 PM, May 03, 2010  
Blogger Linda said...

I have missed your posts...
I am sorry for your loss...
My Mom has almost that same recipe box. I remember it well.
The cinnamon toast sounds like such comfort, I know my kids will love it.
Thanks for the recipe!

3:54 PM, May 03, 2010  
Blogger Holly Keegan said...

I loved this post, Molly. Thanks for sharing such a special find.

5:16 PM, May 03, 2010  
Anonymous Caroline said...

I am new to your blog, but I am sorry for your loss. How sweet that you have her recipe box and that you have shared some of its delights with us.

The enthusiasm for fruitcake doesn't surprise me at all. That generation and the one before it were wild about it back when everyone made it at home. It was the horrid commercial fruitcakes that ruined its reputation, imo. I make it with my mother's recipe - she's probably the same age as your grandmother - and well-made, homemade fruitcake without skimping on ingredients is out-of-this-world delicious. Some people rant and rave about it, but I have noticed the the true fruitcake fans don't say much. They are too busy eating it and they don't want to have to share.

5:24 PM, May 03, 2010  
Blogger wishful nals said...

what a lovely post + recipe box. what a great way to remember your nanny every day. so sorry for your loss. xo!

5:50 PM, May 03, 2010  
Anonymous Hope said...

Just finished your book which I enjoyed a great deal. I'm sorry to see you've lost someone precious to you. I, too, have recipes from my mom and my MIL, who have both passed away. Sadly, that's as far back as my handwritten recipes go; I'm happy to hear that your Nanny's have found a good home where they'll be appreciated.
Now....the cinnamon toast. It sounded so old-fashioned and delightful, I tried it today. If I can keep my hands off them long enough, I'll see if I agree that they get better with age! Wow....crunchy, sweet cinnamon toast.....They were...well, are since I did finally put the tin away so I'd STOP eating them!....yummy and satisfying and made the whole house smell lovely. Thank you for sharing your recipe.....I can't wait to try some from your book.

5:54 PM, May 03, 2010  
Anonymous Julie H said...

I picked up your book about a month ago before vacation. What a treat! Now I'm catching up on your blog by going through it from the beginning. It's fun to see where you started since I know where you've ended up. I'm sorry for the loss of your grandmother. I read that posting the day we got back from visiting my 100 yr old grandmother. I too will feel relieved when she goes, and will make some snickerdoodles in her honor. Or maybe some cinnamon toast since that appears to be easier and just as delicious. Thank you for sharing.

6:49 PM, May 03, 2010  
Blogger Laura Mattal said...

Hi Molly,

I'm new here too--I just finished reading your book this weekend (well, started and finished. I couldn't put it down!) and tonight I made your friend Doron's chicken meatballs and your radish/radicchio/endive/avocado/feta salad. Both recipes made so much food that my husband and I had to call for reinforcements--a foodie emergency, as we say. We had our friend Wendy over for an impromptu dinner and all three of us loved everything! Thanks for sharing such good food, and also for giving us an occasion to open our home and break bread with a friend. This spontaneous entertaining is something I want to do more of, and I can't wait to try more of your recipes.

6:56 PM, May 03, 2010  
Blogger Carrie said...

Molly, thanks so much for this post. I am sorry about Nanny. My prayers are with you and your family. Ironically, my Grandma passed away four days after Nanny and I too was comforted with the thought of her reuniting with my Grandpa after being seperated by death for 24 years.
Also, I am reading your book right now and LOVE it. Thanks for writing it. :)

8:47 PM, May 03, 2010  
Blogger teryll said...

Love the recipe box and the photos. Ther's soemthing about family history, that makes my heart smile. I look forward to having items like those passed onto me at some point. Hope you're feeling better.

11:07 PM, May 03, 2010  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Wow, I must say very sad and yet wonderful at the same time. Her recipe box is a personal item that can be shared forever. What a great legacy to leave behind. :) Great article.

3:15 AM, May 04, 2010  
Blogger alanachernila said...

My Grandmother ran a bed and breakfast, I still have a few recipes that she typed up and mimeographed for guests. I have her copies, and they are stained and covered in her fancy script notes. She died when I was fourteen, but I feel like she is sitting at the counter when I read and use one of her recipes. What a prize that recipe box is- it's like she gets to be with you in your kitchen every time you open it.

4:22 AM, May 04, 2010  
Blogger Patrice said...

What a wonderful legacy your grandmother has left for someone like you who will totally appreciate each and every recipe. Snickerdoodles are my son's (he's 19) all time favorite cookie (I'd be glad to share the Ladies Home Journal recipe from the 1980's!)so I can't wait to surprise him with these cinnamon toasts. It was a pleasure to meet you in NY on your reading tour. Can't wait for your next project!

4:55 AM, May 04, 2010  
Blogger Teri said...

I love that you have an Aunt Millicent. The cinnamon and toast: that's merely the icing. Glad to know you made it through April. Here's to May.

6:27 AM, May 04, 2010  
Anonymous Maria said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Molly. Losing someone like that is so incredibly painful, even if they are ready to go. All the stuff, you never think about that, and then they're gone, and it's there. Going through it when my mom died was very cathartic, I think. I kept her library card and it makes me smile because I remember how important it was to her. That as an uneducated immigrant, she learned to read, and went to adult night school to get her high school diploma. Stuff like that.
Anyway, you wrote about it beautifully. I hope you are doing okay.
And, will definitely try the cinnamon toast.

6:53 AM, May 04, 2010  
Anonymous Merje said...

So, alright, I do cook. I have made a few dishes after your recipes. But as my first ever comment I feel compelled to say that, before having read this particular post - I had the Nibbler eralier this afternoon!
How small is the world..
(However, I did not mix the magic ingredients but grabbed the one and the other from separate bowls. I will try the mixed version another day for sure.)

It does not take much to make me comment.
That said, I have read your culinary (and otherwise) diary since early spring of 2007 when I accidentally found it via the Duch Baby Pancakes post and have been spellbound by your writing ever since.
Reading about your Paris-period, I did not even dream of living in France myself. But then, in 2008, I did. And it was terrific.

In yourself I see now a more at ease, a settled down person writing. I love the fact that I have grown throughout these years so much as well.
It is great to look back once in a while, yet persistently keep the eye on the future.

I hope you read all the lengthy comments. No reply required though.

7:22 AM, May 04, 2010  
Anonymous DC Sarah said...


I understand very well that feeling of relief, and I'm so glad your Nanny is out of pain. The recipe box! What a treasure. I was up visiting my grandmother about a month ago and looking through her recipes, and found one my best friend and I gave her when we were 14, complete with ridiculous doodles :)

I'm so very happy to see you back here. And congrats! I noticed via The Blue Hour that you'll be part of the "Lines and Shapes" book coming out. Between you and Brian, I will certainly be picking it up. Hope you have a chance to enjoy spring now!

7:24 AM, May 04, 2010  
Anonymous yasmin said...

what a treasure! thank you for sharing something from it.

8:00 AM, May 04, 2010  
Anonymous Margie said...

I wish you well, and I know what you mean about feeling that our loved ones are sometimes just waiting for it to end.

My grandma died of cancer six years ago, and although I still miss her terribly, I get to think fondly of her whenever I make strawberry jam, or kale soup, or mustard pickles, or any of the other things I once loved cooking and learning about with her.

I'm hope you are able to take some time to go through your grandmother's recipe box, trying new things, remembering old dishes, laughing, and crying when necessary.

We're all thinking of you out here!

8:26 AM, May 04, 2010  
Anonymous Tiffany said...

First, I want to say I love your book & love your blog. Being cute and funny AND being able to cook is most certainly a blessing. :)
Second, I too lost my grandmother recently. My grandfather passed only 2 weeks later of a heart attack. Or as I tell people, literally of a broken heart. We're still trying to get everything sorted out. But the day after he passed, we were hanging around his house and I found my grandmother's recipe box. I am sure you agree what a comfort it is to be able to make those old, delicious recipes as a sort of homage to your loved ones who have passed.
In fact, I am planning a whole dinner around the memory of my grandmother that I can feed to all 5 of her surviving children, her grandchildren, her sister and her great-grandchildren.
Take care, Molly!

8:41 AM, May 04, 2010  
Blogger Eva said...

Hello Molly,
we met at the Brookline Booksmith, which was a WONDERFUL book party. I am such an excited reader if your book and blog.

I am terribly sorry to hear about your grandmother. I am anticipating a similar event in our family, the lack of surprise does not seem to make the transition any easier.

I haven't made the cinnemon toast yet, but it is certainly a recipe I will keep in mind.

Keep writing, it is such a joy to read your words.


12:24 PM, May 04, 2010  
Anonymous anie said...

I'm sorry for your loss, but happy for your grandmother's reunion.
I am loving the photo of your grandma~not just the hair but the baby's expression and the fact that the mailbox is not where it probably should be. That is 6 kids for you!
Happy cinnamon toasting~I am going to make this for my girls~for breakfast, even!

1:51 PM, May 04, 2010  
Anonymous angie said...

Oh no. you didnt. this looks like it may be the death of my family. Thanks for posting it, but Im telling you - I may need rehab. This looks charming and beautiful. I wonder what kind of meetings your grandmother had, while serving coffee. I have a feeling I need to have more of those. Makes me want to be a suffragette. And I have a hankering for your apple cake/tart recently. Its another family favorite!

3:59 PM, May 04, 2010  
Anonymous Jill Silverman Hough said...

Your post made me think of my grandmother's recipe book, which I inherited, and which is filled with all kinds of recipes that never came out of her Jewish kitchen - chiffon pie, jello salad, tuna casserole. I decided that the recipes that one clips out are often more representative of the cook you want to be than the cook that you are - she wanted to be a 1950s all-American housewife and mother. It's sweet to see that side of her, one I never knew existed. But the recipes that the family most loves, remembers, and craves - blintzes, latkes, breaded veal chops - aren't in her books - she had them in her head and so didn't need to write them down.
And so, they're lost with her.

Good to meet you in Portland, Molly (dinner at Higgins). I think of you almost every time I brush my teeth. :)

6:28 PM, May 04, 2010  
Blogger Cook with Small Kitchen said...

Molly -- So glad you're back. I just love the way you savor your cooking. I can't wait to try this cinnamon bread and see what my 9 year old thinks. I bet she'll love it. :)

9:33 PM, May 04, 2010  
Anonymous Jen/YVR said...

Hi Molly,

My thoughts have been with you since your last post, saying that you were heading home to be with your family.
My great-grandma passed away a year ago this Thursday, and like you, I came back home with an envelope filled with old pictures, and a recipe box. I am not only reminded of my grandma when I look through it, but my grandpa too, as he would type out recipes for my grandma on his old manual typewriter.
She didn't have a recipe for Nibbler in there, but there was always a bowl of it sitting on the little side table she had filled with glass bowls of candies and such. I always loved the salty-sweet of the peanuts and the raisins together.
As I come to the one year anniversary of my grandma's passing, I'm fortunate to be reminded me of all the wonderful times I had with her, and the love of food that she passed on to me. I hope that at this time next year, you are reminded of the same.
All the best, Molly.

10:47 PM, May 04, 2010  
Blogger Ashley said...

Molly, you are so sweet. And so are these new found memories of your grandmother. Aren't they the greatest?

11:52 PM, May 04, 2010  
Blogger neigeblanche said...

Hello Molly, I have followed your blog for a while now and I love to come back time and time again to read up on your stories and lovely recipes. I am very sorry to hear about your grandmother, she is at peace now and that's all that matters. Your post really touched me as I lost my mother very suddenly in mid-March, she was only 65. I've been trying to find the strength to write something about her but it's too raw. This will inspire me to start, at least, thinking about it. Thank you for bringing a bit of sunshine into my culinary life.

3:22 AM, May 05, 2010  
Anonymous Carmellay Rayone said...

My thoughts were with you on your grandmother's passing. What a treasure you have with her photos and in her recipe box! I've got three little fellas here who just might fall in love with that cinnamon toast! Thanks, Molly! Good to have you back.

4:09 AM, May 05, 2010  
Blogger Threaded Basil said...

My Grandmother left us on an April day as well; it was nice to read this post and think of her, too.

I'm going to have to try out this recipe! I love quirky old recipes.

8:26 AM, May 05, 2010  
Blogger red ticking said...

so sorry to hear about your sweet nanny but understand fully how you feel... so hard to let them go but truly special that they are in a better place and with their amazing husbands. i lost my grams years ago and i still think of her allll the time.

i was home recently (colorado) and went thru my mother's recipes and came across many of them with my grams writing... one, her amazing brownies with "nutmeats if desired" i can just hear her saying that... and always melts my heart...

i LOVE your nanny's receipt box and her darling recipes... this post is one of your best and truly made my day.
xx pam

8:29 AM, May 05, 2010  
Blogger dianeswords.wordpress.com said...

so sorry about your grandmother. dead is always hard but sometimes like in your grandmother's case when they are not living quite the life they want--it can be somewhat of a blessing too. i hope you and your family are working through this difficult time. it's so nice you can share some of the special things with others. you validate your grandmother by doing this.

i lost both my parents within the last 18 months so i know how hard the losing can be.

8:30 AM, May 05, 2010  
Anonymous bipolarlawyercook said...

What a wonderful inheritance, and a way to always remember her as you sit down with your coffee or tea, and how special to learn something new at the end of it all.

When my mother-in-law passed, I inherited some of her necklaces, big chunky things that I wear at my store. I get compliments on them, which lets me get to tell stories about her to customers. Just think about how you're going to get to talk about Nanny every time you serve Cinnamon Toast.

12:16 PM, May 05, 2010  
Blogger Jody said...

So glad to see you are back. So sorry about your lost.

And, about this Cinnamon Toast recipe-- you had me at Snickerdoodle!! I JUST made these and holy cow - so simple and so good. Will be making them for my mother for Mother's Day.
Once again, a keeper of a recipe!

3:22 PM, May 05, 2010  
Blogger zuzazak said...

I'm sorry about your gran. recipe box! what a wonderful idea, and fantastic thing to leave behind. i will start one immediately! zuza x


8:52 AM, May 06, 2010  
Anonymous @jeannesamary said...

Glad to have you back, Molly!

I'm still loving your Spilled Milk podcasts, they crack me up.

When my grandmother was undergoing chemotherapy, she wrote down all of her favorite recipes in a notebook. Recipes we would all remember from family gatherings. My mother copied all of the recipes, put them in binders, and gave them to the grandchildren the first Christmas after she passed. I am so grateful to my grandmother for that. Memories of food and family can be so comforting.

Take care,

9:07 AM, May 06, 2010  
Anonymous LilSis said...

Sorry for your loss. That's wonderful that you were able to have her recipe box, and especially find such wonderful notes and dates.

I have some of my grandmothers clip on earrings that we always dressed up in as children. I wish so much that I had some of her recipes. I have very fond memories of her peach turnovers and pickled peaches made from peaches picked right off her tree and no one has ever found her recipes!

I'll definitely try the cinnamon toast. I think my son would love it!

9:43 AM, May 06, 2010  
Blogger Linda said...

I have four grandsons, 8 years and younger, arriving in a week. I think I will have a batch of these nibblers waiting for them. They love cinnamon toast.

10:29 AM, May 06, 2010  
Blogger mosey said...

For Christmas last year, my mother gave me my grandmother's recipe box - old, red and white metal, battered, well-used and well-loved. With recipes that include instruction like "beat the bejesus out of it".

It's like having her here. Almost.

10:49 AM, May 06, 2010  
Blogger Apey Lee's Homespun Designs said...

Hi Molly - I've put a mention of your book on my blog site as I am currently reading it. Here's the link to mine: www.apeyleedesigns.blogspot.com.

11:07 AM, May 06, 2010  
Blogger Shivery McPickles said...

Welcome back, Molly. We missed you!

11:22 AM, May 06, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Molly - nice to meet you at the PCC orientation yesterday. It's great to put a face to the name. And it reminded me that I hadn't looked at your blog in a few weeks. I too inherited a lot of my grandmother's recipes. The handwritten notes on 60+ years of newspaper cuttings, friends recipes and family passings-down are invaluable to me. I'm not much "holding" my recipes and not sharing. I have only two in that category. One of them is my grandmother's fruitcake recipe. I grew up on it - it's a Christmas tradition in our family. My mother makes it every year - 4 weeks before Christmas and it sit in a dark, cool cupboard soaking in port or red wine. And it's wonderful! Dark and moist, it's full of dates, raisins, nuts and not much of the fake colored fruit that makes people hate fruitcake so vengefully.

Your writing reminds me that there's a history to our food. Thanks!

11:50 AM, May 06, 2010  
Blogger kathleensteele said...

So sorry about your grandmother, Molly. I remember telling my own grandmother how much I was going to miss her when she was gone, and she said, "You can still talk to me, the way I talk to your grandfather."

I have an unrelated question. How do I print one of your recipes to take into the kitchen, so I can try it? When I try to copy and paste into Word, I just get code. Anyone know? I have been jotting them down but would like a quicker way. By the way, the roasted rhubarb is out of this world!

11:56 AM, May 06, 2010  
Blogger Missus Wookie said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your Nanny's death, but so recognize your relief and her being ready to go. Thank you for sharing. I hope she finds that cloud with the cold cuts.

Oh - and I'm glad you shared that nibbler recipe I'll try it tomorrow! :)

12:59 PM, May 06, 2010  
Anonymous Jackie at Phamfatale.com said...

What a beautiful recipe box; what you have is a great family legacy. I recently found my husband's grandma recipes while doing some Spring cleaning. Every family has its woulda-coulda-shoulda moment, that instant when it realizes an opportunity has been lost forever. My hubby's grandma is no longer with us but I have fond memories of her teaching me my husband's family culinary heritage. Keeping this recipe box is as if your grandma would always be around.

4:22 PM, May 06, 2010  
Anonymous Sativa said...

What a treasure to have your grandmother's recipe box, and especially to have the little notes about what she served at specific dinner parties. I love it, and I can't wait to make some cinnamon toast.

10:04 PM, May 06, 2010  
Anonymous Julie said...

Brilliant, all of it. I too got my grandma's recipe box - I love instructions that call for "butter the size of an egg" - "bake in a hot oven until done" etc. Some recipes are mere ingredient lists. These cinnamon toasts are wonderful, and I can't wait to adopt them into our household, even though the people behind them aren't technically related. Thanks for sharing your Nanny with us.

10:16 PM, May 06, 2010  
Anonymous Kashif said...

it amazing , gorgious and wondeful recipe box !
Thnx for sharing i like it!

3:43 AM, May 07, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Molly...I am so glad you're back to blogging! Also, I'm sorry to hear of your loss, but as you say, It's good to know she isn't suffering anymore. I'm definately going to try the cinnamon toasts...they look awesome!
That pic of your Grandmother is great--and the baby's expresion cracked me up! Priceless.

7:53 AM, May 07, 2010  
Blogger patricia said...

Have you ever read E.B. White's essay "Afternoon of an American Boy"? It's his reminiscence of being a teenager and taking a girl on an afternoon date to the Plaza Hotel for dancing and cinnamon toast. I've read the essay more than once over the years, and every time I think cinnamon toast? I can never wrap my brain around how something as simple as cinnamon toast could be worth serving for tea at the Plaza Hotel.

But now I get it. It must have been this kind of cinnamon toast!

1:38 PM, May 07, 2010  
Blogger Nell said...

Okay, I know I am slow off the mark but I found out about your book when I was blog-surfing and ordered it through Amazon and it is just amazing! I am more of a bookworm than a foodie (although my hips and butt can attest that I do like my cooking!) I am about half way through it and don't want it to end. Thank you! Look forward to reading your blog now!

9:27 PM, May 07, 2010  
Blogger katrinka said...

Thank you for the sweet words you shared about your grandmother. I also inherited my grandma's recipe box, which came with some pretty hilarious finds. I can't believe my grandma had not one, but TWO different recipes for something called "Sex in a Pan"! Sort of bummed I never found that when she was alive as I'm sure we would've had a good chuckle.

10:10 PM, May 07, 2010  
Blogger Elise said...

I just have to say, After my great Grandmothers death I also got her recipe box and its practically identical to yours. With the organized index cards and news paper clipings. What wonderful memories.

2:30 AM, May 08, 2010  
Anonymous Susan D said...

Hi Molly
New reader here.... I'm nearly finished A Homemade Life, so I've rushed over to get more on Orangette.

We're clearing out my mom's house, and I brought home her recipe box too. It looks just right in my kitchen. (Probably going to be a blog posting when I catch my breath.)

7:15 AM, May 08, 2010  
OpenID ktboogie said...

What a wonderful post...so beautiful and meaningful to have that lovely box. This post made me tear up and think of my grandmother! Perfect Mother's Day post...

2:09 PM, May 08, 2010  
Blogger KatyBelle said...

It's good to have you back, Molly. Thank you for the lovely post.

5:22 PM, May 08, 2010  
Blogger Cristina said...

Condolences, Molly.

And thanks for roasted rhubarb. It's the most wonderful simple recipe ever.

6:03 PM, May 08, 2010  
Blogger rubswanted said...

Hi Molly,

I love your work. I am slowly trying to make my way through all of you old posts while keeping up with the new ones. You are such a vivid writer and I have enjoyed many a recipe from your site.

Thank you:)

7:35 PM, May 08, 2010  
Anonymous Jenny said...

Hey, nice one!

I'm going to try Nibbler, easy to make :P

8:45 PM, May 08, 2010  
Anonymous Jan (Family Bites) said...

What a wonderful gift to have now. And those toasts - I can't wait to make them for my kids.

4:27 AM, May 09, 2010  
Blogger Mom said...

The cinnamon toast your grandma made is an Upper Peninsula of Michigan culinary tradition called "Trenary Toast". (there's a small town called Trenary in the U.P.) Is your grandma of Finnish descent? It's a traditional food from Finland called korpu. Many Finlanders emigrated to Michigan's U.P. during the 1800s...

5:17 AM, May 09, 2010  
Anonymous Jenny said...

Hello Molly..

I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother, i know how you felt losing her.
But its wonderful to leave you a beautiful treasure. Thanks for sharing! Recipes are great.

7:11 AM, May 09, 2010  
Blogger TerryMoran said...

Made the cinnamon toasts yesterday, and in honor of your grandmother I dipped them in butter. I hid them in my cookie tin overnight and pulled them out this morning for my family. They were a huge hit. Thank you so much for sharing. I will think of your grandma every time I make them.

9:06 AM, May 09, 2010  
Blogger Shelly said...

This is so, so incredible to me to see your latest blog today. Please look at my new blog and you will see why. I am so glad we are able to honor our grandmothers in this way! http://greenboxrecipes.blogspot.com/

Love your blog BTW!


7:32 PM, May 09, 2010  
Blogger Amanda said...

It is 9pm on a Monday and I am SO making cinnamon toast! And, I am a huge fan of "real" fruitcake. Though I have no idea if your grandmother's recipe fits the bill, if she served it that often, it must have rocked the house. I'd love to get the recipes if it isn't a family secret.

6:00 PM, May 10, 2010  
Blogger Nicolette said...

Welcome back Molly- Thanks for the stories and the book talks! We were at the University talk last month and had a great time. Thanks again!

6:39 AM, May 11, 2010  
Blogger Heide said...

What a great recipe.

6:14 PM, May 11, 2010  
Anonymous Andrea said...

Reading your post about your grandmother's recipe box made me recall how much I treasure recipes written in my late mother's handwriting. Especially with this past Mother's Day, she's been much on my mind. Thanks for sharing your wonderful recipes and the story of her legacy to you; it brought tears to my eyes.

4:30 PM, May 12, 2010  
Anonymous Ana Sofia said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm always on the lookout for vintage recipe boxes and recently found was that was full. While I was happy to find it, I thought it was sad that it would have passed from a family that way. It's wonderful that you have your grandmother's.

7:02 PM, May 12, 2010  
Anonymous sandi said...

The photograph of your grandmother's recipe box is lovely, as is your description. I have my grandmother's box, and my mother's, lined up behind my own. I try to cook from all of them, but I find myself using the recipes that my grandmother handed to my mother, who then handed them to me.

7:47 PM, May 12, 2010  
Blogger Janie said...

Your Nanny was a lovely lady, who I got to know quite well over the years of her visits to California. I can see her face and hear her using the word "yummy" to describe something she liked. Thanks for sharing some of the contents of her recipe box.
BTW, I LOVED your book! Maybe it came to life so much for me because I know most of the family, but I love the style and intimacy of your writing. A great read!
Janie V.H.

1:23 PM, May 15, 2010  
Anonymous Radu Prisacaru said...

I really enjoyed this post. I have read over a few other posts you have up and I will say you do a great job of blogging. I will be looking for new post daily...Keep up the good work! I invite you to see my post, I hope you will find interesting too.

6:05 AM, May 17, 2010  
Anonymous Nana said...

Lovely words about your Nanny. BTW, she used Pepperidge Farm bread because it was the best available commercial bread then. Good taste and thin sliced (the anti-Wonder Bread as it were).

10:52 AM, May 17, 2010  
Anonymous Elaine said...

I read your blog for the first time yesterday, after reading your book and making Dutch baby pancakes for dinner. Today I am making baked cauliflower for dinner. The cinnamon toast intrigued me so it is baking as I write. However, and a big however, I hope no one else is as klutzy as I am- I caught the edge of the pie pan on the oven and put butter all over the floor. The smell of the toasts baking is well worth the time scrubbing the floor!

5:05 PM, May 17, 2010  
Anonymous Jody, Portland, OR said...

The cinnamon toast is in the oven as I write this. The hardest part is getting the ratio of butter and sugar on the pieces evenly. My first slices are drenched and thoroughly sugared, while the last pieces are very obviously the ones that look a little dry and lacking sugar. The house smells lovely, though...can't wait to try them!

7:51 PM, May 17, 2010  
Anonymous The Purple Foodie said...

Molly, I absolutely love this cinnamon toast recipe. WHy didn't I ever think of this? Anyway, you know now that I listen to your podcasts, I can actually "hear" you when I read your posts.

9:43 PM, May 17, 2010  
Blogger Erica Newhouse-Kasper said...

It's strange. I happened upon your blog because I just started one of my own after my grandmother passed away last month, April 11th. Then one of my best friend's grandfathers passed away the day after and suddenly two more friends had grandparents pass that week. And you're grandmother passed. It makes me think the planets or stars or something were aligned and for whatever reason, grandparents all over felt is was the right time to go.....

I love when you write about your grandmother's recipe box and the cinnamon toasts. I can't wait to make my grandmothers recipe for ginger ale jello mold with canned fruit.

A fan,

8:28 AM, May 19, 2010  
Blogger Sue Sparks said...

What an absolute blessing for you to be the new caretaker of such a treasure as your beloved grandmother's recipe box! :)

9:35 AM, May 19, 2010  
Anonymous Sarah said...

My grandmother died recently as well - March 29th. She was an amazing woman, who struggled briefly with cancer, who I am so proud to represent still in this world :) I have a Blue Ribbon cookbook of hers from 1962 - she wrote lists of what she preserved that year. So touching, as was your post.

7:16 PM, May 20, 2010  
Blogger Laura said...

I bought your book yesterday and I can't put it down (except to write this). I made the Scottish scones this evening for my boyfriend's sister who is leaving for Scotland in three days. I'll pass along the recipe to her.

I'm sorry to hear about your grandma. When my grandma passed away 2 years ago, I was able to have a few of her recipes, a lot of rhubarb things. She made the best strawberry rhubarb pie and I always think of her when rhubarb comes in season. I hope you think of your grandma fondly as you make her recipes :)

1:04 AM, May 24, 2010  
Blogger Kitchen Seductress said...

What a beautiful post! I am so glad to have found your blog...
I'm off to look more thoroughly at your earlier posts... Much enjoyment will be had, I'm sure...

5:39 AM, May 25, 2010  
Blogger Queen Anne said...

I found this recipe for cinnamon toasts!

Its from "Monet's Table: the cooking journals of claude monet" by Claire Jones. Its on page 180 under the chapter "teas", and the book is from 1989. :)

1:59 PM, May 26, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Molly, I read the obituary for your grandmother in The Oklahoman. She sounded like a very accomplished, vibrant, talented person ... and well loved! I'll bet she was very proud of you.


1:19 PM, June 06, 2010  
Anonymous Cynthia said...

What a lovely, touching post about your grandmother. I am sorry for your loss. I am putting together a portrait book with recipes and photographs of my mother in law for all the kids and grandkids so everyone will have some of her favorite recipes. I treasure the handwritten recipes my grandmother gave me a few years before her death. I have no doubt that your recipe box will become even more precious to you as time passes.

4:23 PM, June 16, 2010  
Anonymous Medyum Hoca said...

I find these cute old recipes to be gems in our modern day world!

3:05 AM, June 21, 2010  
Blogger polka dot girl said...

we make these at the bakery I work at. But instead of bread we use croissants. Thought I'd pass it along cause it's really good!

11:36 AM, July 07, 2010  
Blogger Ed said...

It's biscocho! Filipinos make it, but from the name I figure it has Spanish or Mexican origins. My mom used to make it with stale bread.

Here's a link:

Sorry to hear bout yr Grandma...I really love your blog, she must have been very proud of you!

5:56 PM, July 22, 2010  
Blogger Shannon said...

I want to try....I want to try!!!! :). Anyone know what temp to bake these puppies at? 25 mins seems long to me so I wondered if it was a lower temp? Thanks!

3:52 PM, December 17, 2010  
Blogger Molly said...

Shannon, 325 is the correct temperature, and as long as your oven is running accurately, 25 minutes should be just about right. Maybe try setting the timer for 20 minutes, though, and checking them then. Mine are usually perfect at 25 minutes, but you might like yours a shade lighter.

11:18 PM, December 17, 2010  
Anonymous Leah said...


I just found your blog and LOVE it!!! I wanted to share with you that I too have recieved some recipes from my Grandmother and Great Grandmother that make me giggle. Mostly because at the end of the instructions it says stuff like "delectable" and "luscious". Why don't we use adjectives like that anymore? I'm going to start a trend.....

1:18 PM, January 03, 2011  
Anonymous Margaret said...

I really enjoyed this post and will definitely try the cinnamon toasts!

This reminded me of a great vacation we took a few years back. We rented an old house in Vermont. The current owner's aunt had lived in the house and had two old recipes boxes like your grandmother's. I spent hours looking at every single recipe. Some were handwritten in beautiful old-fashioned cursive with a fountain pen... others were typed on a typewriter. The best, though, were newspaper cut-outs from the 1930's! Absolute gems. The recipe boxes were as beautiful as the scenery.

6:08 PM, March 03, 2011  
Blogger Brandon Alcenius said...

Just wanted to write you and let you know that the Toast is called Trenary toast, It comes from Finland!

10:45 AM, October 20, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thought you might like to know that I just found and read and enjoyed this blog post after doing a google search on uses for stale bread. This blog post was linked in someone else's blog listing 18 things to do with stale bread (or something like that)... This stood out by far as the best choice. :) I've got cinnamon toasts toasting in the oven as I write. And I really enjoyed your post honoring your grandma and the snipits from the past. I just thought I'd post as I'm always wondering how stangers happen upon my blog. I know nothing else about you or your blog but I'm super excited to try the cinnamon toasts, so thanks for sharing!

11:13 AM, June 25, 2012  

Post a Comment

<< Home