Thursday, March 12, 2009

Family History the Fat Sisters' Way

I was fourteen when we moved from Alaska to the tiny town of Fredonia, AZ and I enrolled in Fredonia High School. It was more like a large family than a student body—there were sixty-two students. I don’t know about the quality of education I got, but I felt loved and accepted by teachers and classmates alike.

One of my classmates was Joyce Whiting (now Joyce Packard). We lived across the street from her house, and I spent a lot of time in her kitchen and ate many meals with the Whiting family. We have stayed in touch during the fifty years since I graduated from Fredonia High, but it’s the kind of friendship that can take a year or two off and we can pick up the threads and not feel that we have drifted apart.

A couple years ago I got a bulky package in the mail from Joyce. When I opened it, it turned out to be a cookbook that Joyce and her sisters put together to honor their mom. Joyce’s sisters are Glenna Tingey, Myrna Borden, Deb Lewis and Terry Schnepf.

Besides their mother’s recipes, the book is full of anecdotes, tips and guides. Here’s an anecdote under the recipe for Macaroni and Cheese from Scratch:

Mom always made her macaroni from scratch. Often she baked it before serving it. Sometimes she would bake it in a round mold; when she unmolded it to serve, she would fill the hole in the middle with green peas. Great presentation!

This is a great way to chronicle family history. Through these anecdotes, recipes, and the pictures at the beginning of each section, you get to know the Fat Sisters’ mother, Aleen Whiting. She was hard-working, practical, and a great homemaker who welcomed visitors into her home. I remember her well, and the pictures show that my memory of her as a beautiful woman is correct.

I felt so blessed to have Joyce and her sisters—the Fat Sisters—say they would cater my publication party. They learned well from their mother that presentation is half the secret of delicious food, and the refreshment table was beautifully done. I was too busy with guests to do more than eat one Mexican Wedding Cookie. When I bit into it, I closed my eyes, and I was fifteen again, in Sister Whiting’s kitchen at Christmas time, and basking in the spirit of their home.

The Fat Sisters gave me permission to post the recipe for Mexican Wedding Cookies here:

This recipe makes about 4 dozen. Invite me over. I’ll help you eat them.

1 cup butter
½ cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 cups chopped pecans

Mix all ingredients together. Roll in 1-inch balls. Use small cookie scoop. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes until set but not brown. While still warm, roll in powdered sugar. Cool, then roll in powdered sugar again. If you are going to freeze them, you can wait and roll them the second time just before you serve them.

At the bottom of the Fat Sisters Cookbook is their slogan: Never trust a skinny cook. Well said.

I found this picture as I was going through my family photo trunk. It was taken just after my family moved away from Fredonia. This same picture is on the Sauces, Jams and Toppings divider page.

You can buy The Fat Sisters Cookbook at the Fat Sisters Cookbook web site.

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1 comment:

G. Parker said...

I visited Fredonia when I worked at Jacob Lake... The cookbooks sounds great! Good blog.