When you can’t call home, call Forum

  • By Judyrae Kruse / Herald Columnist
  • Tuesday, August 16, 2005 9:00pm
  • Life

There’s been many a time, in years gone by now, when I could pick up the phone and call home, asking Mama to tell me how to make such-and-such a thing or ask did she still have the recipe for those whatchamacallits we all liked so much? And if so, could she grab it fast and read it off to me?

Somehow or other, although I knew it, really I did, I never ever actually faced up to or came to grips with or came within shouting distance of accepting the fact that the day would inevitably come when I couldn’t call home any more. That my heart would break, because Mama wouldn’t be there.

Which is where Everett reader Annette van Belle now finds herself. But it is to be hoped she has something special going for her. In a word, you. As she told us in a late May Forum column, “I would like to make a request for any or all of the recipes my mother, Eileen Plachecki of Lake Stevens, had printed in your column. Unfortunately, I’m not sure of the dates they were published.

“My mother passed away almost two years ago, and having a copy of the Forum columns in which her recipes appeared would mean a lot to me. Thank you so much.”

To date, we have two responses to this heartfelt plea, and one recipe. Donna McMahon of Everett is sympathetic to the situation and writes, “It’s been a while since I last wrote to you, but Annette van Belle’s letter requesting recipes we may have of her late mother’s hit home.

“I thought I would share my family’s experience. My mother died when she was 49 and I was 25. Most of her wonderful recipes weren’t written down. Being a bride of only two years, I hadn’t even thought of a need to write my mother’s recipes down. I had no idea I would lose her so soon.

“I quickly made a list of my favorites and tried my best to re-create them. But I never was able to perfect them, although some were pretty good. The next time I visited my mother’s sister, I spent hours copying some of her recipes, and old recipes that she had collected from other siblings of hers. I put everybody’s name on the recipes.

“After that, whenever a friend or co-worker shared a recipe with me, I copied it on a recipe card – and, on the top, I wrote their name and the date I got the recipe, and sometimes a couple words to jog my memory of who this person is, where I knew her from, etc. It’s fun using these recipes and remembering the person when I made the card. Good memories that bring a smile or a chuckle.

“Nowadays, when I cut a recipe out of the Forum or a magazine, etc., I tape it on a recipe card. My friends tease me about all my recipes, but this is a reasonably inexpensive hobby that I enjoy.”

Good one here now, as McMahon adds, “I just may have the world’s largest collection of uncooked recipes. So, the end of my story is that I might have some of Annette’s mother’s recipes. If she could give me the name of some of these recipes, I just might be able to help out. I have all my recipes filed behind tabbed card file separators.

“My daughter Rita accidentally threw some of her recipes out with some newspapers one time. Fortunately, I had a lot of them copied, so she was able to have them again. We had fun around the table with a cup of tea, copying recipes. I was so glad I was able to help her – some of them were her absolute favorites.

“The bottom line is, don’t take those recipes with you, write them down for your family and friends to enjoy and remember you with a smile or a chuckle. Thanks for listening. …”

Speaking of thanks, let’s send some to Donna for her words to the wise, and then move right along to this letter and recipe shared by longtime Forum helper-outer Jean Kroeze of Arlington. “I spent one whole night and an afternoon, poring over all my recipe clippings in search of Eileen Plachecki recipes for Annette van Belle,” she says. “And all I was able to find was this one for Amish sugar cookies. I sometimes only cut out the recipe, although lately I’ve gotten the whole column.”

Now for this oh-so-popularcookie recipe, as originally shared by Eileen Plachecki, for one.

Amish sugar cookies

1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup margarine or butter, softened

1 cup oil

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2-1 teaspoon salt (optional)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

41/2 cups flour

Granulated sugar or colored sugar

In large mixing bowl, cream together sugars, margarine or butter and oil until fluffy; add eggs and vanilla and beat well. Sift together salt, baking soda, cream of tartar and flour; add to creamed mixture and blend well. Chill dough thoroughly. Shape into small balls; arrange on ungreased cookie sheets, then flatten slightly with fork and sprinkle with sugar or flatten with glass bottom dipped in sugar. Bake at 350-375 degrees 8 to 12 minutes.

If you should happen to run across a recipe Eileen Plachecki shared with the Forum, please send it along to Judyrae Kruse at the Forum, c/o The Herald, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. As you know, we are always happy to receive contributions and requests. Please remember that all letters and e-mail must include a name, complete address with ZIP code and telephone number with area code. No exceptions and sorry, but no response to e-mail by return e-mail; send to kruse@heraldnet.com.

The Forum will appear in Friday’s Time Out section.

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