i thought this was a really great idea, because, in a day and age, where life seems to only be about progress, i think it is very important to preserve memories. not everyone is a scrapbooker or an on-line photo-book-maker. but there are other ways to keep memories alive. it may be through simple photographs. maybe it's a box of memorabilia. it could be a quilt or a shadow box. most simply, it can be in the form of stories told and retold. no matter how they are preserved, memories deserve a place in our lives and should be revisited often.
one of my mother's favorite ways to revisit Granny's memory is by making her Sour Beef and Dumplings. i recently mentioned this on facebook and had a few requests for her recipe. i have to admit, i've never made it. for now, mom is the one to keep this memory alive. but one day, i imagine it will be my turn... and i'll be ready.
Granny's Sour Beef and Dumplings
4 lbs lean beef cubes
1 tbsp pickling spice tied in a cloth
1 large onion, chopped
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
Place all the above ingredients in 1/2 and 1/2 vinegar and water to cover. Soak overnight in the refrigerator.
Cook until meat is tender. Thicken with 6 - 8 ginger snaps dissolved in cold water.
Taste: if too sour, add water
if too sweet, add vinegar
if too thin, add ginger snaps
Peel 5 lbs of fresh potatoes and push through a sieve or ricer. (you can also mash them by hand). Let cool completely.
Add 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
1 tbsp salt
1 cup flour
4 beaten eggs
Work together with hands.
Toast 4 slices of bread and cut into cubes. Roll dumplings into large ball with some bread cubes in the center.
Bring large pot of water to boil (do NOT salt water). Drop dumplings into boiling water. Once they come to the top, boil 5 minutes and then remove.
Some of my mom's comments...
as a younger girl, i always thought this was such an ordeal to make. mostly, it takes planning since you have to soak the meat and you need cheese cloth for the spices. i learned to always have cheese cloth in my kitchen drawer, pickling spice and ginger snaps in the cupboard, and i cook mine in the crockpot. it's a great aroma to come home to after church on sunday...