Mildred Pocuis (poh-shuhs) was my maternal grandmother. I loved her a whole lot. We used to spend weeks at my grandparents place in St. John’s, Michigan during the summer when I was a kid and my grandparents later came to stay with my family in Minnesota for a month at a time.
Besides running a household with three children before the many modern conveniences that still don’t seem to make my life as convenient as I would like, my grandma was a Home Economics teacher (remember that?) and big time community builder. Before cell phones and social media it was door-to-door greeting and supporting that kept women connected. Millie was great at that.
I have this old cook book, late 1950’s/early 1960’s I’m guessing, from my Grandma’s things. My original posting plan was to pull a little “Julie and Julia” kinda type thing (get it? “Michelle and Millie”) but I gotta admit, there aren’t many recipes in these pages that really reach out and grab me. From the meat “loafs” of every (and I mean every) variety, the obsession with gelatin–including savory salads, sweet desserts and even meat dishes–to the lack of knowledge about the dangers of cholesterol (or even the existence of arteries, apparently…)
No matter. Instead I’m enjoying sifting through a historical analogy of what my grandmother’s life would have been like when she was at the same stage I am today. I’ll bet Millie had a big hand in organizing this cookbook, which was not only a fundraiser for the church where my parents were married and I was baptized, but was also a format for the local amazing women to come together and share. (OK, yes, what they were sharing includes titles like “Lime-cheese-salad” and “Boiled Raisin Cake,” still it’s cool to see how my grandma and her girlfriends were getting dinner to the table!)
I recognize Millie’s friends’ names like Thelma Jenkins and Nola Lumbert (love–insert visual of a heart here–those names) and smile at the many “Mrs. my-husband’s-first-name-and-then-our-last-name.”
Some things have changed. But families still need to eat, and when the people responsible for getting food on the table work together to share ideas for making important tasks lighter, it’s not only uplifting, it’s significant and helpful.
If Mildred Pocuis were raising her three children today, in 2013, I’ll bet she’d start a blog about food, meal preparation tips and how to get kids to eat healthier. What a good idea!
We had those old cookbooks! Not everything has changed for the better, but eating has.