My maternal grandmother Alvina M. Ellis nee Mosblech was one of the best cooks I ever knew. What shocked me was Grandma did not know how to cook until she married my grandfather Gilbert P. Ellis. Grandma Ellis taught herself how to cook out of cookbooks. She was an outstanding student because her cooking was excellent.
Grandpa Ellis told me she made great meals from the beginning. Grandpa’s only complaint revolved around a rhubarb pie. When Grandpa expressed disbelief anyone would eat a rhubarb pie, Grandma considered serving it to him full in the face. In the end, she decided to error on the side of generosity.
Grandma introduced me to one of my favorite breakfast dishes, “Eggs the Way the Birdies Eat ‘Em”. I don’t know how it received its name but it is soft-boiled eggs broken over torn up pieces of toast. I still eat it almost every Saturday.
Grandma continued to increase her menu options throughout her life. In the 1980s, she started making beef tips. Beef tips were cut up steaks in gravy usually spread over mashed potatoes or egg noodles.
Grandma excelled herself on Thanksgiving. She made about 10 courses plus dessert. Everyone left the table stuffed to the gills. Grandma supervised the cleanup after the meal.
When Grandpa retired, he and Grandma split up the cooking. Grandpa said when he retired Grandma retired too. Grandpa was a good cook but I always secretly hoped Grandma was the cook that night. Grandma did not have much competition when it came to cooking.
Grandma Ellis was not just a cook. She always had some of the deepest insight into people. Grandma was the more serious and often quieter partner in their marriage. She was the real strength in the family though. Dynamite comes in small packages.
I miss Grandma’s cooking. I miss talking with Grandma. I miss Grandma.
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