My Nana and her sisters were excellent chefs and bakers. They hailed from the East Coast and could wow anyone with their hearty meals and delicious desserts.
In my infinite wisdom of preserving these family recipes, I came up with the idea of asking family members for their favourite dish or dessert. In gathering information, my Uncle Tom told me his top three choices in the “Hare Dessert Hall of Fame”:
- War Cake
- Shortbread Cookies (this is also Mrs. MacLean’s oldest boy’s #1 choice)
- Dirty Elva’s Molasses Cookies (yes, you read that right)
Once upon a time, Nana was admitted into the hospital for eye surgery. Her sister, Elva, had to come and watch the children – the children being my Aunt Cathy and my Uncle Tom (little Barb wasn’t born yet).
At the time, little Tom was about four years old, and not having any of the current situation. To put things into perspective, Elva and Glenna were very different sisters in the sense of personalities and household rules.
If I had to compare the two sisters to television characters, Nana (Glenna) was more like Kitty Foreman (That 70’s Show).
Aunt Elva was more like Sue Ann Nivens (Mary Tyler Moore).
Aunt Elva was a woman of routine and rules, and eating at the table was one of them.
The story goes (from various sources), little Tom didn’t want to eat at the dinner table, he insisted on eating on the arm of the couch or anywhere but the table… Aunt Elva wasn’t having any of this.
This frictional setting of propriety and rules caused Little Tom to rebel, and the words “not happening, Dirty Elva” escaped from his lips.
Apparently she remained very calm and excused herself from the room; where she proceed to laugh uncontrollably into her hands. She was a very good sport with young Thomas.
And there you have it, out of the mouth of babes! “Dirty Elva” was born, and her famous molasses cookies got dragged along for the ride. I have to say, the are delicious, but I still prefer “Dirty” Elva’s Oatmeal cookies 😉
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