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It was the only thing Aunt Birdie ever cooked. "Alice is the cook in our family," she said.

My mother would have pointed out that Alice was not really in Aunt Birdie's family. She did not consider herself a particularly prejudiced person and she often pointed out that she and Dad were married by a black minister. "He was the son of Dorothy Maynor, the singer," she'd go on, bragging about the beautiful music. But I had noticed that, with the exception of celebrities, Mom's world was entirely white and that she reffered to whichever brown-skinned woman happening to be cleaning our house as "the girl". Dad was totally different: he was totally without prejudice, a fact he attributed to growing up in Germany. He understood his position perfectly.

And so each time Aunt Birdie handed him a jar of potato salad he would fold his tall frame until he could reach her cheek, kiss it, and say gently, "Alice is a fabulous cook, but you make the world's best potato salad."

-Ruth Reichl
Tender at the Bone
Chapter 2, p. 22

Aunt Birdie's Potato Salad
serves 6-8

Boil Potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes until just tender. Drain and let cool slightly. Peel and slice into even rounds.

Season with salt, pepper and sugar. Add onions. Add oil and mix gently.

Dilute vinegar with water and bring to a boil. Add to potato mixture while hot and mix well.

Alice's Apple Dumplings with Hard Sauce
serves 5

Mix flour with salt. Cut in shortening with two knives until the shortening is the size of peas. Add water slowly until you can gather the dough into a ball with a fork.

Roll out dough and cut into five squares. Put an apple in the center of each square.

Mix sugar and cinnamon. Fill the center of each apple with the sugar mixture. Put a dab of butter on top of each. Bring pastry up around the apple to make a package, dabbing edges with a bit of water if necessary to seal. Chill thirty minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake for about forty minutes, or until apples are tender.

Serve warm with hard sauce.

Hard Sauce
makes about 1 cup

Cream the butter till soft. Gradually add sugar and salt until light and creamy.

Add vanilla and chill

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