Sunday, November 14, 2010
I've been thinking about Mamanette recently. She was a woman who was like a second grandmother to me. (I say second, because my father's mother died when I was three, so I only had one grandmother for most of my childhood). Mamanette's real name was Jeannette and she and her husband, Papa, cleaned my father's and grandfather's office. Mamanette would also come to our house every Thursday and help my mom. Sometimes Mamanette and Papa would take us for the weekend while my parents went to the bar convention or other similar weekend function.
Mamanette was born in 1902 in Holland and came to this country pretty early. I don't know her whole story, but she met Papa, who was from Belgium, married him and their son Junior was born here. Mamanette was an exceedingly strict person. Her house was immaculate and she had the neatest, most beautiful handwriting. When we went to her house, she would not let us touch the walls, as they were made of tile and would show any little fingerprint. I remember the sound of a chime clock and that she had a Steiff bear that she would only occasionally let us play with. I bet that thing is worth a fortune today.
She made us eat runny scrambled eggs and she would mash carrots in with potatoes, but she also turned us on to "papercook" with cream cheese. I don't even know what papercook is, but I think it was some kind of date nut bread. To this day I love sweet breads with cream cheese on it.
I googled her the other day and found out she died in 2001. She had moved to California to live with her daughter in law as her son had predeceased her. We lost touch with her after my wedding in 1988.
I also remember she used to make the most decadent butter cookies. They were made of mostly butter and they were so bad for you but were so so so good. I want to find the recipe. I've been googling Dutch butter cookies and looking at the recipes and this one is the closest, I think. I'm baking them now. I'll let you know how they are.