I swear my grandma Vi was the queen of “Almost Homemade.” I didn’t even realize that a lot of the thing that she cooked wasn’t homemade, because she always said that it was. As the holiday’s come around, I’m really starting to miss hanging around my grandmother’s kitchen table as we “almost” make a dinner/dessert for everyone.
Her favorite dishes to pull off as homemade were cakes and pies. She would get a box cake mix. Throw in a stick of butter, an extra egg and some vanilla extract. If she was trying to make a pound cake, she’d add a box of instant pudding. Or if she put some canned icing in the microwave, it became “her” glaze.
The berry cobbler. I think I was about 12 when I remember what she actually did with this cobbler to make it “homemade.” I may have seen her do this in the past, but this was the first time I really noticed what she was doing. She bought a Marie Callender’s Berry Cobbler. She let the pie unthaw on the counter. She then carefully removed the top crust of the pie. Sliced up some butter and added some sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Put the crust back on with an egg wash. After baking, she proudly told everyone she made the pie from “scratch.”
I really miss baking with my grandmother. I know she’d be proud of me and how far I’ve come along in baking. My first time I baked cookies for Christmas, they were as hard as rocks. When I asked her what I did wrong, she promptly said, “you have to use real butter baby. That margarine just don’t work for cooking.”
When ever I find myself reaching for a box of cake mix or brownies, I make sure to add a little something to make it mine. As Grandma Vi said, “if it came out of my oven, it was homemade.”