Traverse City Record-Eagle

October 5, 2009

Grandma's Kitchen: Nature's glory


Once again we are caught up in Mother Nature's annual fall spectacular.

My biggest maple is a fluorescent red that seems to burst into flames when touched by the sun. The picture is so ethereal you almost expect to hear "The Voice" speak from the burning bush -- "Take off your shoes, you are on holy ground."

Mother Nature speaks to us loud and clear if we take the time to listen.


You still have time to to take advantage of the many opportunities the 8th Annual Grand Traverse Bioneers Conference offers. It runs Oct.16-18 at Northwestern Michigan College and is geared to the whole family.

The emphasis is on our lakes, our land and food suppiy, and caring for our planet and people in general. Many volunteers work all year to secure the best films, speakers and workshops from around the world, and bring it all to our front door.

Information and action are the two greatest weapons against the problems facing today's world.

Go to today and say "count me in." You'll be glad you did.


Two of my daughters with their two teenage daughters were here recently. The cousins love to be together and like many of the same things. They passed up the big Coho Festival (fish on a stick, anyone?) to visit all of the antique shops in the Beulah area with lunch at L'Chayim. They love the freedom to shop alone in a safe place and always find some treasures.

As they left for home after their stay, one daughter agreed to take some leftovers from our turkey dinner so I heaped turkey/stuffing, casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy on a tray. She called later and asked if I usually serve applesauce over my mashed potatoes? She said she had nuked it before she tasted it and that it really was pretty good. I don't know if she was kidding or not ...

You may already know I can't think and talk at the same time.


I've discovered a new (at least to me) bread that I think you might be interested in. It's Rhodes Frozen 100 percent Whole Wheat. It comes three loaves to a bag and costs $3. You simply put it in your pans, let it rise and bake it. No muss, no fuss.

I buy it in Honor at Shop N Save so I'm sure the Traverse City stores have it too.


We've just been celebrating National Honey Month, and where I grew up the honey bee was the state insect. It is a good way to focus attention on one of nature's oldest sweet treats.

Some of my early memories go back to watching my little mother pull a pan of fluffy golden biscuits from the wood stove and place them before my dad. My dad always drank his coffee from a saucer, so he would be cooling it a little and waiting. He'd spread two or three biscuits with honey and dip them in his coffee, making little groans of delight. I've seen him drop the whole biscuit in his saucer and eat it with a spoon. Since I wanted to do everything just like he did, that was often my breakfast too.

I wonder if good memories don't make a food taste better.


Thinking you might like a simple recipe using honey, here's a delicious scone that could taste like mom's biscuits if I use my imagination.

Honey Scones with Dried Fruit

2 c. all-purpose flour

2 t. baking powder

1/4 t. baking soda

1/4 t. salt

6 T. butter, cut into pieces

1 c. dried fruit, currants, raisins, cherries, blueberries

1/4 c. mild honey

1/4 c. plain lowfat yogurt

1 egg plus 1 yolk, reserve the white for another use

1/2 T. vanilla or almond extract

Prepared cinnamon-sugar

In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Mix well. Cut in butter until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in the dried fruit.

In a small bowl, whisk together honey, yogurt, egg, egg yolk and extract; add to flour mix, stirring until just combined.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; shape into an 8-inch circle, approximately 1 inch think.

Cut into 8 wedges. Place on greased baking sheet at least 1 inch apart. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Makes 8 scones.


Parting Shot:

Experience is not what happens to man,
it's what a man does with what happens to him.

-- Aldous Huxley


Edna Shaffer is a local mother, grandmother and great-grandmother who writes about cooking from the perspective of an older adult. She can be reached at For more Grandma's Kitchen columns by Edna Shaffer, log on to