Does the cinnamon-y smell of snickerdoodles wafting from the oven bring back memories of grandma? Fragrances are one of our strongest memory triggers. So, sit back, close your eyes, and imagine your favorite food cooking in the oven or sizzling on the grill or steaming in a pot on top of the stove. Hold that image. What memories emerge?
Every Christmas I can still smell Grannie’s date nut bread baking in the oven—even if only in my imagination. She filled empty green bean cans with the sticky dough so when baked and sliced they were perfectly round. The glass plate they were served on now adorns my hutch, and I’m fortunate to have the recipe that our family clamored for. However, not all family recipes get passed down through generations.
What if we had etched this treasured date nut recipe on Grannie’s gravestone? What better way to leave a last impression? There are many ways to leave a legacy: letters, precious keepsakes, photographs and more. According to an article in the New York Times, recipes on gravestones are a relatively new concept, but think about it. Icons and epitaphs on gravestones say a lot about us.
Grannie’s Brown Date Nut Bread
1 cup sugar
1 tsp shortening
1 egg well beaten
Mix sugar, shortening and egg together. Set aside.
1 cup raisins
1 cup dates
1 1/2 cups water
Boil together for 5 minutes. Cool, then add sugar mixture.
Mix the following together, then add above mixture.
2 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup walnuts
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
Pour into clean green bean cans (or other 15 oz can). Fill 1/2 full. Makes enough for four cans. Push cherries down the center (optional). Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees. Cool and slice.