I can't remember a time when they didn't turn out perfect, and they practically had a ladle of lard in them. But I won't tell my doctor that because I found out that stuff wasn't very good for you. My mama never believed it, though, because she used it until the day she died.
If an ingredient wasn't available, she knew what substitute to use. Mama insisted that her mother cooked this way and she learned how to cook from her. When I inquired how she knew if she had put enough of the right ingredients in, she replied that it just looked, felt and tasted right.
When I got a family of my own and tried this little trick, it didn't always work that well for me. I guess this family tradition must have skipped a generation. I have to measure things and they still don't always turn out right.
When I became a grandmother, I started a family tradition of my own. I created things that the grandbabies craved when they were at grandma's. Being on a health kick myself, I knew milk was better for them than soft drinks. I bought some Nestle's Nesquik in chocolate and strawberry flavors and convinced them it was Bunny Juice. They believed it because there was this rabbit on the front of each bottle. They would ask for Bunny Juice every time they came over.
Then, while I was on my 150th diet, I discovered how to make homemade potato chips in the microwave. The first time they saw me make them they ate one and loved them. They're fast and easy and better for you than bagged chips. So now when the grandkids are over, they request these two items so much that I've deemed them as "granny's special house menus." If you would like to try them, here is a recipe.
Homemade Potato Chips
One large potato, more if desired
Buttered flavor Pam spray
One microwave pie pan
Salt to taste
Wash potato thoroughly. Cut out any bad spots. Slice potato thin with the skin on or peel and use skins to make potato skins. Take pie pan and invert it and saturate with Pam spray. Lay sliced potato chips on the top of the pie pan as close as you can. Spray them with the butter spray, then salt them good. Put pie pan in the microwave on high for at least five minutes. The time depends on the volts of your microwave, so experiment a little with the time. A spatula can be used to loosen them from the pie pan. If any potatoes remain uncooked, cover them with cold water, refrigerate and cook the next day. These chips will go too fast to gather a bowl full.
Faye Shumaker lives in Lancaster.