Frewsburg Family Focuses On Memories, Traditions
Lou Ann Peterson and her daughter, Sarah Minor, of Frewsburg have been a team throughout life, especially in the kitchen.
“Family is everything in this house,” Minor said. “We spend most of our time in the kitchen. We’ve always baked together. We are best friends.”
She remembers baking at her Grandma Jean’s house, but her first memory was getting prepared for the holidays with her mom.
“We would clean the house, turn on music. It would be Christmas music if it was Christmastime. In the afternoon and evening we would cook,” Minor said.
Peterson reminisced about time spent at her grandmother Irene Danielson’s home. “I spent a lot of time at her house when I was growing up. We had homemade desserts every night.”
“That’s where your love of cooking started,” Minor said.
Peterson said she heard her grandmother Danielson’s voice as she was typing the cardamom braid recipe to share and was transported back to her grandmother’s kitchen, where she smelled it baking. As was common with many older cooks, before the internet with allrecipes.com and Pinterest, where a recipe can be found in a few seconds, recipe amounts were learned by sight or touch.
“When I was in my 20s and I’d call her and say gram, how do I make this or how do I make that, she’d tell me. I would say how much sugar or whatever. She’d say ‘I don’t know. I just eyeball it and dump some in.’ Now I cook that way,” Peterson said.
She smiled when she read the same grandmother’s rice pudding recipe, which calls for a “normal-size” casserole bowl.
“Grandma Jean’s mini pizzas were our favorites at every family gathering. Easy to pick up and eat and they disappeared very quickly,” said Minor about her paternal grandmother’s coveted recipe, a recipe she copied when she was just 14 years old. “We had it every single holiday growing up. We’d run to the door saying ‘where are the pizzas?'”
“We’ve always gotten together with our family for holidays, birthdays and summer barbecues,” she added. “Every single Christmas Eve and Thanksgiving we are all together, 27 of us. We make a point to do something with Marshall’s family, too and with my father.”
Both mother and daughter speak of Christmas traditions which include a meal of Swedish foods, such as korv, rice pudding and Bond Ost Cheese.
“We used to make venison korv. My grandmother used to make it, too, when we were kids,” Peterson said.
“I remember and I loved making it,” her daughter adds. “It was so good, especially because it came with family. We carry on what we know how to make and like.”
The women have fond memories of “pink cake,” a recipe that has been made for several generations on the Danielson side of the family. This recipe comes with the stipulation that it can only be made for and eaten at a birthday. It is so loved, possibly because it isn’t freely available, that the men of the family request it too.
“I think the tradition originated with my great grandfather Ernest L. Danielson,” Peterson said. “I don’t know how much further back it went from there or if it went any further back. I didn’t know my great-grandfather because he passed prior to my birth. His son, my grandfather Ernest L Danielson II, known as Bud, and his four sisters carried this on.”
Her Aunt Dorothy, Bud’s sister, told her they used to melt cinnamon candies to achieve the color and flavor. The candies may have come from the siblings’ father’s general store that was located across from their house at Newland Avenue and South Main Street.
They later moved to a large house at Main and Falconer streets in Frewsburg. After their daughter, Joan married Marvin Peterson, he opened a funeral home in the lower lever of the house.
“So, my great-grandfather and his four sisters always had pink cake for their birthdays. Then my grandparents, Bud and Irene Danielson carried it on with their two kids, my mom Joan Danielson Peterson Carlson and Ernest L Danielson III, who was my uncle,” she said. “Then it was carried on with myself and my two brothers, and all of our kids. So, here we are still making pink cinnamon birthday cake all these years later. I still love it and sometimes would like to just make it, but I can’t get over the rule that you can only have it on an official birthday.”
“Everybody laughs because the guys have a pink cake,” Minor said. “It is only served on birthdays. Tradition is just the best.”
“I feel very fortunate to have grown up with so many women who are good cooks and who carried on the tradition,” Minor added. “I can’t wait until my girls can cook.”
Minor was blessed by another great cook when she married Marshall Minor. His mother, Julie, who happens to live across the road and is known for her pies with flaky crust, took her daughter-in-law under her wing. She taught her how to not only to make a pie, but how to make it look perfect by sharing recipes and pie-baking tips. With her mother-in-law’s permission, Minor shared the recipe to make a delectable coconut cream pie complete with Julie’s flaky crust recipe.
On a recent Christmas, Minor surprised Julie with a beautiful bound cookbook full of her recipes, some in the original handwriting of the woman’s grandmother. The book serves a dual purpose as a cookbook and a memory book. The young mother prepared many of the dishes so she could include pictures with the recipes. She added family pictures, including one with four-generations starting with the recipient’s grandmother, mother, herself and her daughter. Pictures of each of the woman’s three kitchens from over her married lifetime and a letter from each one of the woman’s children were also added to the book.
Minor has a photography business, Sarah Minor Photography. Marshall works for Chautauqua County. They are co-owners of Pumpkintown with her brother and sister-in-law. They are the parents of three daughters. The twins, Charlotte and Caroline, are three and a half and Clara Mae is a year younger.
Peterson has two children and five grandchildren, who range in age from 2 to 8. She has worked at Chautauqua County wastewater treatment plant for 19 years. “I love it there. We have a wonderful group of people.”
The women offered the following recipes hoping the readers would come to love them as much as their families do.
1 stick butter
1 c milk
1 1/2 tsp crushed cardamom seed
3/4 c sugar
1 pkg yeast
Heat butter and milk over medium heat until butter is melted. Add cardamom seed. Combine sugar and egg. Add to milk mixture after milk has cooled to luke warm. Stir yeast into 1/2 cup lukewarm water. After yeast is dissolved, combine with milk mixture. Slowly add flour and mix well. Add enough flour until dough pulls away from the bowl. Cover in a greased bowl and let rise until double in size. Roll out and then form into a ball. Let rise again. Shape into three strands and braid. Bake at 375 degrees until done. Makes one large or two small loaves.
GRAM DANIELSON’S RICE PUDDING
1 c white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
11/2 c cooked white rice
Crack 6 eggs into a “normal-size” casserole bowl and then beat with a fork. Add sugar and vanilla and mix again. Stir in cooked rice. Stir in raisins, if using. Pour whole milk into the bowl until it nearly reaches the top; leaving about 1/2-inch. Combine well. Generously sprinkle cinnamon on top. Bake in 350 degree oven about 45 mins or until custard on top is “set.”
SARAH’S CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
3 sticks butter
2 c brown sugar
1 c granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
5 c flour
2 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
Miniature M&Ms, optional
Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs and beat just until combined. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients using a whisk. Stir into wet ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips and/or miniature M&Ms. Drop on a greased sheet. Bake in 350 degree oven for 7-10 minutes.
GRANDMA JEAN’S MINI PIZZAS
2 1/2 c flour
2 pkg dry yeast
1 c water (110-115 degrees)
2 T oil
1 teaspoon salt
Dissolve yeast in water. Add oil and salt. Stir in flour just until dough forms. Place dough inside plastic zip bag, drizzling with a bit more oil. Let sit 10-15 minutes in a warm place. Roll out dough until approximately 1/4-inch thick. Cut with a small round biscuit cutter. Place on cookie sheet and top with 1 teaspoon of your favorite pizza sauce and one piece of pepperoni. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
ROASTED MAPLE-GLAZED CARROTS
1 lb carrots, peeled and trimmed
2 T vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c butter
1/4 c maple syrup
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Place carrots on baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Season generously with salt and pepper and then toss to coat. Roast for 20 minutes, flipping carrots once. Melt butter in saute pan. Add syrup. Heat until just starts to bubble. Pour over carrots and toss to coat.
PINK CINNAMON BIRTHDAY CAKE
Add Lorann Cinnamon Oil to your favorite white cake recipe, being careful not to add too much as it is very strong. Add enough red food coloring to make batter pink, not red. Do the same with a favorite white frosting recipe.
SARAH’S COCONUT CREAM PIE
3 c half and half
1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c white sugar
1 c flaked coconut plus 1/3 cup coconut, toasted
1 tsp vanilla extract
Real whipped cream
Add half and half, flour, salt, sugar and eggs to a saucepan. Whisk all ingredients well and slowly bring to a boil over medium-low heat. It is very important to stir constantly to avoid scorching. Once mixture reaches a boil, it will thicken very quickly. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup coconut and vanilla; place pan in refrigerator to cool. Toast remaining 1/3 cup coconut in oven until it’s lightly browned and then set aside. After filling is cooled, pour into pre-baked pie shell and place back in refrigerator. Add whipped cream and top with toasted coconut before serving.
JULIE’S FAMOUS PIE CRUST
2 c flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 c butter-flavored shortening
7-9 T cold water
Preheat oven to 390 degrees (390 is correct). Add flour and salt to large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add shortening and use pastry blender to combine ingredients. Work ingredients until flour mixture appears to be yellow. Add cold water and stir with fork just until dough has combined in the center of the bowl. Prepare counter top and rolling pin with a coating of flour. Round dough into a large ball handling as little as possible. Cut in half. Round each individual half and set one aside. Roll one ball 4 strokes at a time and then flip to the other side. Continue this process until the dough is larger than a pie tin. Push down crust to fit into the pie tin and cut off any crust that is hanging over the edges. Add filling and rub cold water around the rim of the crust. Roll out the other half and lay gently over the top. Press the bottom rim (coated with water) to the upper crust. Next fold over to make the edge of the pie crust. Use a sharp knife to make several air vents in the upper crust. Place in oven and check every 15 minutes to re-cut the air vents. Depending on the type of pie, it should take around 45 minutes to bake. Remove from oven when top crust is golden brown. It makes two bottom crusts or one double crust pie.