If there were a "Guinness Book of World Records" entry for lessons in mothering, Loeen Whitng and Hortense Harward would be mentioned.
The Utah county pair, affectionately known as the Apple Sisters, "Seedy" and "Corey," have "mothered" nearly every women's club, Relief Society and neighborhood group around with their food demonstrations.The two are real sisters, Crandalls by maiden name. Sharing their practiced homemaking skills with the community has been a dual project for almost 30 years.
Now the pair grow weary at the remembrance of their teaching. They have prepared more than 100 demonstrations - bread-making, pie-making and quilting - those traditional mothering arts that slip through the cracks of today's schedules.
The Crandall sisters have always made time for tradition.
Loeen admitted her addiction, "I'm simply not going to cheat myself out of homemade smells and tastes. I've never bought a loaf of bread and I never will."
Hortense echoed the feelings in different words, "I love to find my hands in dough. Bread dough feels like velvet - there's nothing that feels better than a good dough."
Sharing their love affair with baking required extra effort. Loeen and Hortense baked the day before the demonstrations to prepare finished projects for tasting. Early in the morning of the appearance, the pair would mix fresh batches of dough, timing it to rise, then be shaped in the classroom. Preparation techniques were demonstrated first hand.
Kitchen equipment and supplies were transported to the demonstration, basket by basket.
Multiple copies of recipes were distributed - long before the days of the convenient corner copy center.
Finally, the entire display was returned to the original kitchens.
The experienced teachers shared simple methods and ideas:
- Make do with the equipment you have. You can always improvise with what's available.
- Establish a "want list." Prepare a list of kitchen tools, pans and special occasion equipment you'd like. Birthday gifts will never be a problem again.
- Freeze a single pie crust for 15 minutes before baking, then it won't shrink.
- Use a high-patented flour for all baking. You will have a greater yield, so the product cost evens out.
- Bread can't be made by the exact recipe - "a successful loaf must feel right."
- For Parker House rolls that hold a shape, roll out a 6-by-18-inch dough rectangle, butter, leaving a 2-inch border, then fold over, outside edges to the center to make two folded edges. Use a half-circle of a glass to cut rolls, cutting down the fold edge. Glass will seal edges and rolls will not separate during rising or baking.
Cooks like the Crandall sisters have family favorites - the standbys and ready rescuers of daily life.
Loeen's Golden Crown is a breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack. It was the original cinnamon pull-apart, long before the invention of frozen roll doughs.
For Hortense, the rescue is Grandma Roylance's pudding, a family favorite for generations. The recipe originated with Philinda Cutler Roylance, a pioneer with British ancestry. Though the dessert is similar to an Englishtrifle, it has an old-fashioned definition of its own. The base, a hot milk cake, also doubles as the birthday and special occasion cake for family members.
It would be a special occasion to absorb someone of the mothering skills Hortense and Loeen possess. Utah County women, through first-hand experience, agree.
To many, like the Crandall sisters, "The best day for a mother is the day I bake. It's a joy to feel a dough, to think it, to knead it, to bake it, to smell it and then, to eat it."
Right. There's no way to record that mothering experience in the "Guinness Book of World Records."
Happy Mother's Day baking from the "Apple Sisters," Loeen and Hortense.
Grandma Roylance's pudding
Whole Wheat Bread
Sugar and Spice Puffs
Whole Egg Pastry
Hearty Oats 'N Wheat Loaves
Golden Sesame Egg Bread