My Grandmother was an amazing cook. I don’t say this without having some testimonial type of information. Let me give you a little bit of background about my Grandma.
My Grandfather was a hemophiliac. He was a “Christmas Hemophiliac” also called “Hemophilia B”. Because of this incurable disease my Grandfather could not be fully insured for complications resulting from the hemophilia. It was not unusual for him to be hospitalized for bleeding and my Grandmother knew how to control it and would work with the doctors to keep him well. I can even remember a few times when they would be traveling and he would have a bleed and she would have to hospitalize him away from home. There were times that the doctors were not listening to her and she would check him out of the hospital and transfer him to a facility where they would listen to her experience and suggestions. It sounds bad but because of her knowledge and planning for unexpected he had a very full life and lived to 82 years old and they were always able to pay cash for his hospitalization and when they bought a new car.
Anyways, I’m getting off base but I just wanted to help you to understand why it was important that my Grandmother be entrepreneurial. I have always admired my Grandmothers entrepreneurial spirit and discipline. For example, when my Mom was a child she grew up in a Victorian house and my Grandmother always rented out the upstairs rooms to people coming into our small tourist town, East Tawas, Michigan.
Additionally, when my Mom was young, my Grandmother decided to buy a restaurant. She told my Grandfather about it when he got home from work. It was called “Ossie’s Fine Food”. See my Grandfathers name was Osmand Ostrander. Here is a picture of it.
Grandma was the one that knew how to make things work and Grandpa was the brawn, and a social butterfly. I was probably about 5 or 6 years old when my Grandparents sold their restaurant. My grandmother made Ossie’s a rather nice restaurant sometimes with white linen tablecloths and napkins and other times it was closer to being just a diner. Each table had matching crystal salt, pepper, and a sugar bowl filled with sugar cubes.
The restaurant sat right on the beach of Lake Huron in Michigan. As you can see from the picture there were glass windows from ceiling to floor all the way around. A really cool fountain was inside in one area and the walls were all knotty pine. Heres another picture of Grandma holding my older sister as a baby. Notice the walls.
Growing up I heard stories for years from my Mom about waiting tables, cooking, doing dishes and all the rest of the duties that go with owning and running a restaurant. I remember my Grandfather would wander around the restaurant and talk to everyone. He knew everybody in town and would greet people at the door get them all seated and if he wanted to talk to them again he would go and sit down with them once they had eaten and were enjoying a nice cup of after dinner coffee and those bowls of sugar cubes were right there on the table for people to add sugar to their coffee. Here is a picture of my Mom and her cousin in uniform. They both worked at the restaurant and all the waitresses wore uniforms. Notice my Grandma’s picture above, she is also wearing a uniform.
As a child the memories are fabulous about this restaurant. They had a sucker tree on the glass counter and there was always excitement at the restaurant. My sister and I used to get in trouble for going around to the tables and eating sugar cubes from the sugarbowls. I guess I’m trying to draw a picture for you and give you and idea how imprinted this place is in my memory even though I was very young.
So when it comes to cooking, you bet, my Grandmother had mastered it to the point of running a successful restaurant for years. Many times I remember growing up and watching her cook with nothing but a bowl and ingredients.
My Mom and I managed to get a few of her recipes by watching her cook and making an educated guess as to the amount of the ingredients. Unfortunately we have very few recipes to show but we got some of the best ones like, “Brown Sugar Cookies” and her “Homemade Oatmeal Bread”. Many times I imagine her standing next to me watching me cook. She is there for the new stuff and is always there when I make the traditional stuff.
This part of Work at Home Boomer is my cooking part and is dedicated to my Grandma, Mildred Ostrander who I try to model my entrepreneurial spirit and my cooking after.
Love and miss you Grandma.
One more picture of our Easter surprise displayed proudly on a table in “Ossie’s Fine Foods”