Thoughtful Food Reading
My mini-profile of C.V. LeCarrell, who fled Vietnam as a child, puts life in perspective when it comes to making ourselves at home. C.V.’s spirit will win your heart and her recipe for pho will warm your table.
Looking for a meal to remember in New York’s Hudson Valley? Read about the American Bounty restaurant in my CIA article for Hudson Valley Life Magazine.
If your family circle includes young ones with food allergies, it may be time to update your food allergy action plan. Read my articles in Hudson Valley Parent Magazine.
Sorry, We’re Closed: Farewell in a Cookbook
The art and science in Grandma’s kitchen
By Mary Ann Ebner
New York/April 2007
Doris Clearwater keeps the old-fashioned in Grandma and the art and science of perfection in her kitchen. Born and raised on Jones Farm in Cornwall, N.Y., Grandma Doris still puts in an honest day’s work on the farm – in its country store kitchen.
The country kitchen is named for Grandma’s own grandmother, Phoebe Tuthill Jones, but it’s Grandma Doris everyone can thank for the farm’s fudge and baked goods. In 1994, the family renovated the store and kitchen. And added the fudge. Soon after, they expanded their array of temptations with fresh doughnuts, cookies and home-baked pies.
“We bake the old fashioned way,” Grandma Doris said, “as you would do it in your own kitchen 50 years ago. I’ll be 80 in August and proud of it.”
Grandma’s age isn’t slowing her down. One of her main priorities is ensuring that the fudge counter is fully stocked in Grandma Phoebe’s Kitchen at Jones Farm. From seven to seven, she works, creating fresh fudge and baked goods, taste testing in the kitchen and assisting customers. She loves her customers to help sample new flavors and there’s always Grandpa, Belding “Pete” Clearwater, to help taste the assortment.
“I’m the quality control person,” Grandpa said as he tried to reach around Grandma to sample the store’s best seller – chocolate. Nothing tops the chocolate fudge, but on any given day, Grandma’s Kitchen offers at least two dozen flavors from maple to chewy praline. And seasonal favorites like raspberry and orange cream make the list in spring and summer. Grandma also molds the fudge for special occasions. Chocolate, maple and vanilla bunnies jump off the shelves every spring.
“I was a cookie person when my kids were growing up,” Grandma Doris said. “I would bake one day a week. We raised three boys and when they came home from school, they ate homemade cookies. Never store-bought.”
And Grandma insists that there’s no better way to keep a community happy than to offer something freshly prepared. The Jones Farm tradition blends beauty with exactness. Their creations must taste as good as they look.
“There’s no such thing as a bad batch because we have to measure everything,” Grandma said. With her helpers in the kitchen, Grandma perfectly primes each pan of fudge. Side by side with her son, David Clearwater, they take pride in making the fudge and perpetuating the family farm business.
“It takes 24 hours from the mixing to being able to cut the fudge for customers,” David said. “It has to be exact.”
With her family living all around Jones Farm, Grandma nurtures them through the pleasure of country sweets. But she sees a lot of children who have no grandparents or who live miles away from any relatives.
“I’m the adopted grandmother to all the kids,” Grandma said. “Even the young people who work here call me Grandma.”
If there’s an art to earning praises from the masses, this Grandma excels at it, admittedly with her allure of a little butter, sugar and chocolate.
A little visitor walked by the fudge counter with his father and admired the double chocolate fudge, just ready for sampling. But not so fast with Grandma in charge. She asked for the magic word and smiled when she heard “Please!”
“Grandma asks all the kids who come in for the magic word before tasting the fudge,” David said. They soon add their “pleases” and “thank yous” and dust off their manners. “She can get away with that because she’s Grandma.”
Grandma Phoebe’s Kitchen is located at Jones Farm, 190 Angola Road, Cornwall, NY. 845-534-4445. The store is open from 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Fresh Fudge Favorites
Amaretto chocolate swirl, Chewy praline, Chocolate, Double chocolate, Orange cream, Maple, Maple nut, Milk chocolate, Mint chocolate swirl, Peanut butter chocolate, Raspberry, Rum raisin chocolate, Tiger butter, Vanilla, Vanilla walnut