But one thing I wouldn't have asked her about was cooking. Because while I loved her, we all did what we could to avoid eating her cooking. One dish I remember in particular was a chicken and dumplings that was more like a pile of floury goo than something I would want to eat if I didn't have to be polite to grandma.
So I was a little nervous about trying the dish myself. But I invented this one day because I raided the 'fridge and the pantry and the ingredients were what I happened to have on hand. And it went over so well that everyone requested I write it down so I could do it again. So here goes:
Chicken and dumplings
(this recipe serves eight, but leftovers reheat nicely)
4 chicken leg quarters (legs and thighs), skin removed
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
4 white potatoes, quartered
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1/2 sweet onion, sliced
2-3 handfuls baby carrots
2 bay leaves
Put everything but water in a pot. Stir. Add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook until chicken is just falling off the bone. Separate liquids from solids. Remove chicken, separate meat from bone and discard bones
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
5 T butter
3/4 cup milk
Splash of vinegar
Mix together milk and vinegar (or use buttermilk. But since I never have buttermilk, this is an easy substitution). Mix together flour, baking soda. Add butter and use pastry blender until forms a coarse meal. Add milk/vinegar and mix until forms a sticky dough.
Bring chicken liquid to a low boil. Pinch off quarter-size pieces of dough and drop in broth. Make sure to drop each dumpling away from other dumplings and let boil a little before they touch. Boil uncovered for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and continue to cook until dumplings are cooked through. Use tongs to place dumplings over chicken and vegetables. Remove bay leaves and pour broth over the mixture to serve.
*Note: Next time I think I'll try rolling each dumpling in extra flour before dropping it in the broth. I'm thinking that may keep the outer edge of the dumpling from getting sticky.