I realized at some point that most of my 'comfort food' recipes so far have been from my paternal grandmothers collection. Trying to analyze the possible reasoning and make sure I don't shortchange the Grandma who is still alive - she was always a good cook, as is my mother whom I haven't mentioned much either. This lead to one of those trips down memory lane that people of a certain age are so prone to! (how embarrassing!) I have memories of very early in my childhood and my mother has confirmed that these events occurred, although she says I always tell them from my point of view. I do tease her that it really is the only one I can know for sure!
I come from a very close family and spent a lot of time with both sets of grandparents and my grandparents got along well with each other so I have photos of the family and both sets of grandparents in various places. My grandfathers were storybook grandfathers - they were laughing, funny, devoted Christian farmers and they both loved me. (they loved my brother and the other cousins as well but that was not as important to me) I loved them both dearly and spent many happy hours with them. My grandmothers were also storybook grandmas - in wonderfully different ways.
My mom's mom is Grandma Nellie, and I remember taking walks in the timber, making crafts at vacation bible school, eating tomatoes right in the garden, her quilts, the beautiful clothes she made us without a pattern, to this day I don't think there is anything she couldn't do in her prime if she set her mind to it, she worked like a man and created beautiful things from 'stuff'. When I was putting together a memory book for my parents 50th anniversary I collected stories about the wedding and events leading up to it from old friends and family. Mom and Grandma had looked at bridal gowns and when Mom found the one she wanted Grandma looked at it real close and said OK and then made it for her - I asked about the hoop skirt - how on earth - what did you use to keep it stiff? Grandma's response was typical of her - "oh I think it was just something laying around on the farm, might of been baling wire"!! She really was frugal! Grandma was a good cook, she made the best sweet pickles and her corn flake candy was awesome! At 100 (101 in September God willing) she says she never didn't eat something because someone told her it was bad for her. Right before her 100th birthday party she got on her exercise bicycle and I have a picture of her riding her exercise bike and eating a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup candy bar - I told her they'd probably pay her to do that in an ad! She never said a mean word about anyone and she always loved us and never judged us even during our 'dumb years' and we all had them!
My mom worked like a man as a young girl as well, Grandad didn't have any sons so his daughters had to fill the bill. Mom liked to be outside and liked the animals and she was the oldest so she worked outside - one of the other two sisters did most of the cooking. So when Mom got married she really didn't know how to cook much at all. When she and Daddy told these stories later on in their lives they made them sound funny, but I know that there were some hurt feelings and it took some real perseverance on Mom's part, she had married a man whose mother was an excellent cook and he was kind of spoiled!
Grandma Lottie and my oldest - now 30!
Grandma Lottie taught my mom to cook and she taught me and my cousins as well. Mom is an excellent cook and my kids have 'grandma favorites' like her roast for Sunday dinner, or her biscuits and gravy breakfasts, oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies. As good a cook as she is I would never say that my mom loves to cook - she doesn't, and I don't think Grandma Nellie does either, they both cooked to eat. Grandma Lottie loved to cook and cooked to love!
And there it is - the reason so much of my comfort food comes from my paternal grandma. The comfort of being loved has always been mine and I know that I am more fortunate than many to have had that comfort from all the people in my family!
I feel better now - it is always good to trace these things back - you know to make sure I'm not getting too batty yet!!