Last week on Good Friday, my 94 year-old grandmother Mary Hubbard peacefully passed away with her children by her side. She lived a long, full life, one surrounded by the love she shared for her family.
As my family gathered for her wake, we were surprised at how many people came to pay their respects. She was 94 and so outlived most of her siblings and many of her friends, but there were dozens of nieces, nephews, former neighbors and family friends who all showed up to share memories of this kind, sweet, funny woman.
|Me and Grandma last Christmas|
So many of the memories revolved around food. My brother stayed with my grandparents and when Grandma asked him what he liked for breakfast, he told her any cereal was fine. When he got up in the morning, he found two 12 variety packs of cereal on the kitchen table because, as Grandma said, she "wanted to cover all bases."
The grandchildren talked about Grandma's favorite snacks; she always had a box of Chicken In a Biscuit, and when we stayed overnight, we all had a small dish of ice cream while watching TV before bedtime.
Her favorite snack though was M&Ms. She liked them so much she was affectionately called "M&M Mary." Her M&Ms though were off-limit. When the grandkids came to visit, she would put other snacks out, but her dish of M&Ms would be hidden in a cupboard. Eat them at your own risk.
I remember that when we had birthdays, Grandma would bring her Crazy Cake. I loved watching her mix the batter, bake it, frost it, and then put it in her Tupperware cake container for the trip to the birthday child's home.
This is the recipe for Crazy Cake, which became popular during the Great Depression and WWII because it didn't use butter or eggs, which were too expensive. I watched with fascination as she made the three wells to pour the liquid ingredients. I liked mine with vanilla frosting and brightly colored sprinkles on top.
3 cups of flour
2 cups of sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups cold water
Directions: Sift flour, sugar, salt and baking soda into an ungreased 9x13 pan. Make three wells, one big, two small. Pour the oil into the large well, vinegar into a small well and vanilla into the other small well. Pour cold water over the entire mix, and stir with a fork.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool and frost with your favorite canned or homemade frosting.