Friday, October 23, 2009

Revisiting Grandma Pitalo's Cookie Bars

One of my most treasured possessions has to be the recipes from my grandparents handed down for future generations of cooks in our family. Included in this collection is a notebook my Grandma Pitalo gave me on my 21st birthday. Not only does this contain recipes the family and friends have enjoyed for close to 100 years, but it is a hand-written legacy passed on from one foodie to another~ we didn't even use that term during her lifetime, but I know she would chuckle and agree with being called a foodie. Grandma passed away in 1996, but her love of food lives on every time the big, green binder gets opened up. I am not the only one who has been the recipient of Grandma's legacy~ she also wrote out one for my mom as well as my sister. In turn, I have taken it upon myself to make sure all the great-grandkids~ whom she loved more than one can imagine~ receive a copy of these recipes at the appropriate time such as at my oldest niece, Jennifer's, wedding shower. It took me a while to decide how to do the cookbook- in the end I decided she had to have it in Grandma's hand just like the way it was given to her mom and me. Thankfully, all the work I put into getting a binder, copying the recipes & putting them into page protectors (to make it look as close to the originals as possible) was worth it as the expression on her face dawned from not being sure to tears when she realized what she was getting. I am looking forward to being able to do this for my nieces and my own children when the time comes!

I have so often made Grandma's recipes that some are put by the wayside as I open up my many other cookbooks or get out recipes cut out of cooking magazines that I have amassed. Thankfully, my kids will remind me of one recipe or another in the binder that they've got a taste for, so out it comes- stained pages and all (I know Grandma knew what she was doing with using page protectors)!! The latest recipe to get out was Grandma's Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Squares. We ended up using this recipe at the Salem Alliance Church High School retreat last weekend at the Oregon coast. My best friend, Shelly, who was there as one of my "sous chefs", worked her dessert-magic as we transformed Grandma's recipe just tweaking it a bit to add a bit more peanut butter. They were so good that I had to make a double batch yesterday just so the rest of my family who wasn't at the retreat could try them. They were, of course, a hit as is evidenced by the rapidly dwindling stack sitting in the container in the bread/snack drawer!

I plan on continuing to revisit Grandma's recipes along with the other recipes I have from family members even amidst the ever-changing and new recipes I collect, if for no other other reason than to keep the foodie legacy of our family alive, and hopefully, well.

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