Grits and Purls

Spinning yarns about the grit of life

I suspect that my mom and maternal grandmother were up in Heaven laughing on New Year’s Day when I set off the fire alarms with Grandma’s cornbread dressing. I had set the pan containing the perfectly baked cornbread dressing on top of the stove before turning on the wrong burner when preparing another dish for …

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To my chagrin, the days are getting colder. Winter is here, and that means soup weather. So last night, I pulled out my grandmother’s recipe for cheddar-potato soup. It’s delicious and fairly easy to make. The recipe begins, of course, with potatoes, which I distinctly remember selecting, placing in a produce bag, and dropping into …

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When I married into my husband’s large Italian family, lots of people made the expected jokes about family “connections”. After all, the Italians originally hailed from Aragona, Sicily, so when I would explain: “Calvagna, it rhymes with lasagna,” the other person to whom I was talking would inevitably joke, “Then I should leave the gun …

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My grandmother was a wonderful cook, a veritable wizard in the kitchen. In fact, her entire family were accomplished cooks;  her sisters, brother, and nieces to a (wo)man could hold forth in the kitchen.  Family dinners were always delicious. Our appetites were whetted by the good smells that greeted us on the front porch. Savories …

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When I was teaching genetics to undergraduates, one of the things (among many) that alarmed me was that none of my students had ever made homemade gingerbread cookies at Christmas. So I hosted an end-of-semester party at my apartment for my students, and for entertainment we made and decorated gingerbread cookies. My kitchen memories with …

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Today I came across the book “101 Things to Do With Zucchini” for the sale price of $1.42. Even at that bargain price I cannot bring myself to buy it. I cannot face it. Over the last two weeks we have had 2 lots of zucchini bread, a zucchini curry, and several batches of pan-fried …

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I had the delight of a mother-daughter day last week. I had a vacation day, only part of which was devoted to a session at Write by the Lake at UW-Madison. So, I took my daughter with me, planning to spend time at the Henry Vilas Zoo and then my company’s family picnic. As we …

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