Smells like grandma's kitchen

 I don't have too many memories with my grandma, but those that I have, are memorable indeed. She used to bake us the most delicious pies, her soups were unforgettable and her jams and pickles were the best ever. My mom is still very jealous when I remind her that nobody could cook sarmale (a traditional dish) like grandma used to. She used to pickle her own cabbage in huge wooden barrels and flavor it with cherry leaves and beetroot.
 When we were home alone, we used to sneak down in the cellar, open the barrel and drink the pickled juice with a ladle, and we wouldn't stop til our bellies started an uproar. Everybody is crazy about this traditional dish called sarmale. It's basically the same recipe for stuffed peppers, only the stuffing is rolled in sour/pickled cabbage leaves or/and vine leaves. It's a heavy dish because the stuffing contains ground red meat and rice (besides onions, tomatoes, dill and parsley and finely chopped sour cabbage), so people cook it in very large pots, only on special occasions.
Another thing that reminds me of grandma's kitchen, this time of year, is the quince preserves. She'd have us finely chop the halves of quince, she'd let it sit covered in sugar all night long, then the next day she'd boil the mixture for almost half a day.We could eat grandma's quince preserves all day long and we'd never have enough of it, so of course we used to steal a jar or two, and eat it quietly in the dark, then blame it on our cousins :).

16 comments:

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Petronela:
We have something very similar to your sarmale here in Hungary which Tímea, our cook/housekeeper, regularly prepares for us and which we love. One of the many things we so enjoy about Eastern Europe is that there are so many exciting and delicious dishes to experience, all of which are completely unknown in Britain.

Da Dude said...

I never knew any of my Grandmothers. However, my wife's Aunt was one heck of a cook. She could take this and that to make a great meal at the drop of a hat. She wasn't a baker but her kitchen always, always smelled good.

Have a great weekend!

(((HUGS)))

Steve

Suzanne Bean said...

Such fond memories of your grandmother. Wonderful. I loved being a child and completely enjoying my grandmother's cooking. YUMMY!!! And yes, I would steal food and hide it too. Thanks for such a beautiful story.
PS: I posted the nude drawing, it turned out a little different than I'd imaged. I hope you enjoy it. :)

Voltech said...

You know, if I remember correctly, it's the sense of smell -- and the scents therein -- that help us form stronger memories than any other sense/stimulus. Speaking from my own experiences, I have some strong memories of my mother's (and similarly my grandmother's) southern-tinged cooking...though that may also be because my mom once said I have "the nose of a pregnant woman." I'm assuming that's a compliment.

Well, anyway, thanks for sharing. This post took me back...and made me realize how helpless I really am when it comes to matters of the kitchen. The disaster that was my "famous BBQ sandwiches" is still fresh on my mind...

Robert Bourne said...

I have similar memories of being a little boy and going to my Grandma's kitchen with that big wood stove and the warmth and smells that would just swamp my senses... :)

Kelly said...

Good strategy to blame the eating of the quince preserves on your cousins. Crafty. The dish you describe does sound heavy but it sounds delicious and looks tasty.

Stephanie said...

Mmmmm the last picture is awesome!
Love all those pictures (:

lettersfromlaunna said...

I have wonderful memories of my grandmother and being in her kitchen... my nan wasn't the greatest cook but she always had something special for us;)

I am thrilled you have such great memories of your grandmother:)

Petula Wright said...

I have similar memories of my grandmother based around the smell foods cooking and baking in the kitchen. I learned most of what I know from her and many of my good memories flash by when those senses are stimulated. Thanks for reminding me. :-)

Janet Gardner said...

I never heard of that dish, it looks delicious, maybe I'll have to try it some time. I think it is so sweet that you have those good memories with your grandmother. I never had those type of memories with my grandmother as she didn't cook that often when we were around, but I have other memories to treasure as well.
Hope all is well,
Janet
xoxo

Judith said...

Lord, you make me hungry! I make cabbage rolls every January. My mom's birthday is in January, and they're her favorites. But I can tell, your grandma is the better cook. I don't pickle much of anything. But my mom doesn't know any better:) She's happy with mine.

The Elephant's Child said...

I never knew any of my grandparents, so your memories are not mine. I cannot tell you how envious I am, or how much I started to drool at quince preserve. We lived in a house that had them and sour cherries in the yard and I cooked up a storm every year. Sadly, we have moved twice since then, and never been similarly blessed.
Thank you for another yummy post.

JDC said...

Sounds amazingly delicious

Catherine said...

Those are some sweet memories!
xo Catherine

Shaharoh said...

What are beautiful history of baking and nurturing the soul that you share with your mom and grandma. I love how things get passed from generation to generation. I think hair and music is the common link between my mom, grandma and I. Wait! Now that I think about it, there is that Sweet Potato Pie...xoxo Gorgeous!

Sissym said...


Hi dear,

Unfortunately, I never had no contact with grandparents paternal neither maternal side. I saw only a single time my grandmother maternal and won from her a bear. I keep very fondly until today. I feel fortunate people who have this type of memory.

Kisses

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