Aunt Sarah Anderson, Iced Tea and Cherry Pudding

Sarah Isabel Warner Anderson (1904-1986)

Bill and Sarah Anderson

Bill and Sarah Anderson in the 1960s or 70s

Aunt Sarah was always in motion.  Her house was spotless, clothes ironed just so. When there was no more housework or cooking to be done, her hands were busy creating things–crocheting doilies or throw pillow covers, making sock dolls, embroidering pillow cases, making clothes and piecing quilts.

I think of Aunt Sarah every time I get out my hand-held electric mixer. She gave me one for a wedding present and it lasted about 40 years before I had to replace it, so she was in the kitchen with me for a lot of years.  (Of course the mixer was from Bill, too, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t have much to do with the choice, although at the time he was working at the hardware store where she would have purchased it in Killbuck).

I am intrigued by this flapper era picture of Aunt Sarah and Uncle Bill (William J. Anderson, my mother’s brother, 1905-1978). They look like they would have a lot of fun, didn’t they?

Sarah and Bill  Anderson 1925

Sarah and Bill Anderson 1925

Sarah and Bill married in 1924. She was 21, and although he had turned 19 just the day before they applied for the license, he stated that he was also 21. These are probably wedding pictures.

Bill and Sarah had one child, Robert J. Anderson, whom Sarah doted on. (I’ll talk more about him in an article about family in World War II).

Sarah’s domestic skills became the family income provider in at least one point in her young married life when she and Uncle Bill ran a laundry business in Killbuck, Ohio. And in checking census records, I notice that she and Bill took in borders early in their life together, when they were living in Dayton Ohio. One more lady in the family who had rented out rooms.

The one thing that Sarah Anderson liked to do even more than domestic arts was talk.  Wind her up and of she would go in a fast-paced, high-pitched voice, filling you in on what had happened to everyone in the town since last you met.

I have a get well card that Sarah sent to my mother.  She added a note filling the inside and back of the card in her neat, small, round script.

She started with the usual concern for the patient and good wishes. But then she veered off the task of cheering up Harriette and recited all the ills–preferably fatal–that had befallen mutual acquaintances.  Anyone who did not know Aunt Sarah might have wound up depressed.  Mother probably got a good laugh from the recital of woes.

Today I’m making Aunt Sarah’s Cherry Pudding, the dessert she had waiting for Ken and me the last time we visited her in Killbuck. When I adapt her recipe I reduce the sugar. Aunt Sarah loved sugar. So before I share the recipe, here’s an Aunt Sarah memory from my sister, Paula Kaser Price.

Aunt Sarah and The Iced Tea Incident

By Paula K. Price

Aunt Sara was a hard working, kind, long-winded soul. I often heard it said of her that she could talk the ears off a mule. Uncle Bill, her husband, would turned off his hearing aid to get some quite. She knew it and just kept talking. I witnessed this phenomenon often.

However, I think every one loved Aunt Sara and appreciated her willingness to work hard at whatever she did. I know I did. In hindsight I wonder if her ability to talk might have been the result of her consumption of great amounts of sugar.

One hot summer day my Grandmother, Mother cousin Debby, Aunt Sara and I were gathered in Grandma’s kitchen for lunch. I don’t remember what we had to eat but knowing Grandma I imagine some delicious cold meat on home made bread (lots of mayonnaise) cucumbers and pie. I do remember that the grownups were drinking iced tea and us kids had milk.

My grandmother, being diabetic, put a few drops of saccharine in her tea all the time complaining it just didn’t taste like sugar, what a sacrifice she was making and maybe it was all hooey anyway, knowing full well she would eat pie for dessert.

Aunt Sara, chattering away in her usual manner added spoon after spoon full of sugar to her tea until there was a little white tornado of sugar in her glass.

For a second she stopped and looked at her tea. “Vera, I think there is something wrong with your sugar. It won’t dissolve.”

Grandma responded indignantly, “ Oh for God sake Sara, you just put too much in.”

Defensively Sara began stirring her tea with great vigor. “See it just won’t dissolve.”

At last the glass couldn’t take it any longer. The bottom broke out and tea went everywhere.

We all jumped up except my Mother who calmly said, “Well I guess that will cool thing off a bit”

Aunt Sarah’s Cherry Pudding

Sarah Anderson Cherry Pudding

Cherries for Cherry Pudding

 

There are cobblers, and slumps, and crisps and Brown Bettys, but Aunt Sarah called her dessert a pudding. She probably made it with the bright red slightly sour cherries that I remember growing on trees around Killbuck, but I used Bing Cherries, which are sweeter. Whatever kind of cherries you use, adjust the sugar, particularly if you do not have Aunt Sarah’s sweet tooth.

 

 

 

Aunt Sarah’s Cherry Slump
Recipe Type: dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Vera Marie Badertscher
Sarah Anderson made cherry slump with a whole lot of sugar.
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup sugar (white)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • (1/2 tsp. salt)
  • Butter size of egg (6 T)
  • 1 C milk
  • Enough flour to make a stiff batter (2 Cups)
  • 2 Cups cherries (up to 3 Cups, pitted)
  • 2 Cups boiling water (or reduce to 1 1/2)
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • (2 Tbsp cornstarch)
  • 1 Tbsp butter
Instructions
  1. (Mix flour and 1 Cup sugar with baking powder and salt, work in butter as for pastry, stir in milk)
  2. (Boil water, add cherries, sugar and cornstarch mixed, and butter. Simmer until slightly thickened)
  3. Put batter in large pan (9 x 13) and pour dressing over it and bake 3/4 hour at 350.
Notes
I have enclosed my additions in parentheses. You have to use your own judgement as to the amount of sugar, based on the sweetness of the cherries, but with Bing cherries, 1/2 cup in the cherries is enough, and I cut the sugar in the batter to 1/2 cup as well. The 2 cups of water seems excessive and leaves a very runny fruit “dressing”. I reduced the water and added cornstarch to thicken it. This is most similar to recipes I have seen for cobbler, except that cobblers generally put the dough on top.

17 thoughts on “Aunt Sarah Anderson, Iced Tea and Cherry Pudding

    1. Vera Marie BadertscherVera Marie Badertscher Post author

      In this case, Melanie, my eyes were bigger than my stomach, and I had some rapidly softening cherries that I needed to do something with QUICK. That tends to happen every cherry season.

      Reply
    1. Vera Marie BadertscherVera Marie Badertscher Post author

      Kerry: One of my favorite recipes is for blueberry slump. In fact, I’m inspired by your note to talk about all the many varieties of fruit desserts that American came up with. Another person reminded me that British-speakers call desserts “pudding”, however in my experience that is a general term. You’d say bring in the pudding–and not know exactly what to expect, but you wouldn’t generally say exactly “cherry pudding.” However, Joy of Cooking sheds some light on the terminology by saying that all that variety of baked and boiled fruit desserts of the Americans are combos of pudding and pastry.
      Next question–why did Aunt Sarah call the boiled fruit topping a “dressing”?

      Reply
  1. Bro

    Aunt Sarah visited us in her late seventies when we were living in the San Francisco Bay area. She had an elderly friend with her. She said they were eager to see San Francisco but that her friend wanted us to promise not to take her on any steep hills! I took them up to Twin Peaks and drove down as fast as I safely could. After that the other hills of the City by the Bay all seemed tame to them. Aunt Sarah told me a year or so before she died that sugar just wasn’t as sweet as it used to be and that she also had noticed the colors in rainbows weren’t as bright as they had been when she was a girl. We thought it funny at the time. Now, some decades older ourselves, we sadly must agree.

    Reply

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