When I think of Aunt Edna, she’s laughing. She spins off a one-liner, claps her hands one time and does a little kick while everyone busts out in laughter. Usually she will tap the person next to her and whisper a few more observations loud enough for everyone to hear, and the party goes on.
The number one recipe requested by my cousins for our family cookbook project is by far my Aunt Edna’s Scalloped Corn. The dish brings grown men to tears.
And by far, this has been the toughest one to pin down, because when you make a thing for 60-plus years, the word “recipe” doesn’t apply.
When you know something well, you cease to measure ingredients.
I wanted to make sure I was making the Scalloped Corn just right, so I made an appointment to learn from the master. She gave me more than a recipe:
When you watch a person, you get a feel for what they are aiming at. Edna very plainly wants everyone to know that they are loved. Praise and I-love-you’s and hugs spill over from her heart to yours, and you walk away wanting to come back for more.
Maybe that’s the secret ingredient that makes everyone beg for this dish.
Tracing the Lineage of a Recipe: Edna was given this recipe by her mother Lucie, who we are pretty sure received it from her mother Chloe Hamilton. Edna remembers her cousin John (Lucie’s sister Mary’s son, if you follow) bringing Scalloped Corn to a family function “and it tasted exactly like mine.” Chloe must have been the common thread. Edna’s granddaughter Bethany makes it now, adding a little brown sugar to her version. Five generations of a family recipe.
Edna’s Scalloped Corn
3 8-oz. cans creamed corn
½ cup sugar
½ cup milk
1 ½ sleeves of saltine crackers, crushed
2 Tbsp butter
Mix the corn, sugar, milk, and eggs. Reserve ½ cup of the cracker crumbs, and add the rest to the mixture. Pour into an oven-safe dish. Sprinkle the crackers on top and dot with butter. Bake at 350° for 45-60 minutes, until mixture is solid and golden brown on top.