The recipe my Gram made most often was Garbage Cake. Hands down, it was my favourite. Oh, Dad and my uncle loved her oatmeal cookies–and to be fair, they were also fantastic. I hadn’t tasted anything remotely like them until we had oatcakes in Cape Breton Island last year. One bite took me to her kitchen, and I loved it so much I immediately sent a text to my older brother. It was probably the only text he got from me last year, so you can imagine it was a momentous occasion.
The cookies were amazing. What my heart longs for though, is Garbage Cake.
The premise of Garbage Cake is simple. Gram’s recipe calls for 2 cups graham wafer crumbs. If she didn’t have those, any collection of crumbs would do. Because Gram never wasted anything, old worn out crumbs were preferable. Stale cookies, crumbled dry cake, old crackers, and all the crumbs from the bottom of the cookie jar easily found their way into Garbage Cake before the graham crumbs even came out of the cupboard–unless, of course, they were also ancient and needing to be used up.
Gram would take the oldest remnants, the pieces that had seen better days, the scraps that were past their best-before dates and transform them into something special. To many people, it was a simple bar cookie with a browned butter icing. To me it was a regular bit of kitchen magic that became one of her best life lessons.
With her gentle, and sometimes firm hand, Gram loved something I would have thrown out and turned it into something so special I dream about it, and long for it on my worst days.
Do you ever wonder, like I do, how many other things–how many people– could be transformed exactly the same way if they were only handled with a love like that?
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