Grandma Week Wrap-up

Grandma Week Wrap-up

Grandma-isms by Modern Day Forager

It is with both trepidation and sorrow that we bid Grandmothers’ week ado!  We have had such a wonderful time just jabbering about our grandparents (hmmm… could a Grandfathers week be in the making?) and sharing just a fraction of those memories with each other and in turn our followers/you.

We started our week with a brief history of our grandmas’ and the incredible influences they had on us as people and as chefs, then we asked for your input and stories, thank you again, to those of you that shared with us.  Your stories just re-emphasized our belief that these women shaped our future, one generation at a time, from what we think to what we eat, from what we say to how we say it and the whole time with humor and love sprinkled in for good measure.

Next we dove into summer (and head first into Heather’s grandma’s freezer) with a tasty, super simple and incredibly versatile freezer jam that just may become one of the things your grandchildren look fondly back on, that you made for them every summer.

Simple Freezer Jam by Modern Day Forager

Every meal that came to my grandmother’s table included bread and butter, you may ask, “what does that have to do with the price of tea in China” let me tell you… no bread brought more smiles than fresh from the oven biscuits and oh by the way, what goes great with all that freezer jam?  That’s right…biscuits!

Grandma's Biscuits by Modern Day Forager

Grandma's Biscuits by Modern Day Forager

It didn’t take us long as we tested our biscuit recipe to decide the next recipe had to be strawberry shortcake. The biscuits make a wonderful vehicle for the sweet summer berries and will hold up to copious amounts of whipped cream and syrup.  Start with grandma’s basic and put your own spin on it.  Balsamic whipped cream, balsamic and black pepper syrup add fresh basil to any or all the ingredients, let your imagination run wild and take our tradition and create yourself a new one.

Strawberry Shortcake by Modern Day Forager

The next stop was back in my Grandma’s kitchen.  Breakfast was always a treat whether it was pancakes, waffles, eggs any number of ways (my favorite, and to this day unduplicated, a Swedish egg dish called rara) occasionally (if it didn’t break the bank) my favorite dry cereal or on the best of days… home made donuts.  Grandma would carefully make the dough, then cut them out on a giant cutting board, then fry 3 or 4 at a time in a big cast iron pot, finally setting them cattywampus on an old brown paper bag to drain … I would be in charge of bringing the warm donuts to the breakfast nook where my grandfather and I would devour them before the next batch was done frying.  I would alternate between powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar and just plain granulated sugar, the whole kit and caboodle, while my grandfather took his plain to dunk in his coffee from the percolator…how could a morning get any better?  I don’t want to sound like a broken record  (do you sense a secondary theme here) but what a great opportunity for you to put your own twist on these magic pieces of fried dough and create a tradition.

Grandma's Donuts by Modern Day Forager

We hope that everyone understands our grandmothers’ where not disciples of Julia Child, they were not gourmands’, four of these women (not Heather’s she is the spring chicken of the MDF family) lived and fed families through The Great Depression (when hand-made, home-made, recycled, re-used, and re-purposed were a way of life not a trend to be followed)  they could stretch a meal and a dollar, but that food, filled with love,  tasted so wonderful and could fill you up and warm you up like nobody’s business.  Boy do we know it’s summer, (118 degrees F today) but that warm you up feeling was truly something special and nothing did that better or said “grandma” more, than our last post, which was, grilled cheese and tomato soup.  Traci’s grandma was ahead of her time; adding different cheeses, serving sandwiches open-faced and utilizing great bread fresh from the bakery.  This is another of those traditional staples that screams for you to make your own version and pass down to the next generation.  Let us know here on MDFs comment page or on MDF’s Facebook page how you are going to put your stamp on grilled cheese and tomato soup.

Creamy Tomato Soup by Modern Day Forager

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup by Modern Day Forager

Pardon me while I get on my soapbox for a moment, I have an ax to grind, and Traci and Heather have bees in their bonnets.  These days’ families don’t spend enough quality time together and we are losing traditions left and right.  Slow the fork down and start sharing what you hold dear from your grandma’s table and start a few traditions at your table… you will never be sorry you did, you heard that straight from the horses mouth.

Just a few more things to ponder, I thought I was done but haste makes wasteThat crazy jello salad thing (Ewww)…did grandma like burnt toast or was she taking one for the team?  Did we really need rice in the salt to keep it from sticking, or the apple in the potato bag to keep them from sprouting?  The bread in the brown sugar sure worked though, so did that tip about putting vinegar in a pie crust to make it flaky.  Does warm 7-up really fix anything that is wrong with your tummy?  Bacon grease, who didn’t have a can of it under the sink and a tupperware in the ice box

Ok, we have to skedaddle… no more piddling around with this post…Monday’s post is waiting to be photographed.

Things grandmas say by Modern Day Forager


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Grandma’s Biscuits


Recipes by Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography


Here is a tried and true recipe from my dear grandma who made these by the dozens for my family and boy did we feel special when she made them and  we ate them.  If you master these biscuits and know your biscuit basics you will be on your way to making a mouth-watering golden brown biscuit with a soft and tender interior.

My Grandma’s Biscuits

1/2 cup leaf lard, cold and coarsely chopped plus more to grease pan

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/4 cup of warm water (105F-110F)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon coarse pepper

3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup yogurt

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.  Grease baking sheet with lard and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water, let stand until it becomes foamy (5-10 minutes).
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, pepper, cream of tartar and baking soda.  With a pastry blender or two knives, cut the lard into the flour mixture until pea sized coarse crumbs form.
  4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, add yogurt and yeast all at once and carefully toss with a fork until just moistened, careful not to over mix.
  5. Flour your work surface; roll out the dough to 3/4 of an inch thickness using a rolling pin.
  6. Cut the biscuits using a 2 1/2 inch round biscuit cutter.  Gather trimmings, re-roll and cut.
  7. Place the biscuits 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.  Leave to cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack, serve warm.


Modern Day Forager