Not to fall victim to the clichéd “cooked with love” descriptor, but these things do become cliché for a reason, and we just may be the most willing victims ever.
All the most beautiful qualities that make a grandmother special—hospitality, generosity, and yes, love—are indicated in Natalie Oldfield’s recent cookbook, Gran’s Kitchen: Recipes from the Notebooks of Dulcie May Booker. Inspired by and dedicated to, you guessed it, Oldfield’s grandmother Dulcie, the pages are brimming with Dulcie’s comforting recipes, many of which have been developed to perfection over decades.
It seems the thing that make a recipe’s outcome most special (aside from the obvious: butter, sugar, and more of both), is the care and attention that go into the work. But then there’s that certain grandmotherly je ne sais quoi, which may simply take us a while longer to master. Here are a few pearls of wisdom we gleaned from Gran’s Kitchen, followed by three perfectly sweet recipes.
Try new things.
While many of the recipes in Gran’s Kitchen have been in the works since Dulcie’s childhood, some are new favorites, like this Ginger Lime Loaf, a relatively new addition to Dulcie’s repertoire.
Details, Details, Details.
Years of baking seem to teach that the tiniest of details can make all the difference in your final product. One of Dulcie’s gems: “For any cake, using cream instead of water to wet the icing mixture makes for a really creamy icing. Chocolate icing made with cream will be a slightly lighter color than if water is used.”
Cook with love.
And here we are again. Love is a recurring (and welcome!) theme throughout Gran’s Kitchen, the content of which was taken directly from Dulcie’s notebooks and photo albums. Dulcie says, “It is not how much you do, but how much love you put into the doing.” And if Dulcie says it, we believe it.
—By Alissa Harb