The Secret To Grandma’s Magic West Virginia Recipe

Today we have another great blog post from Kay Bess.  Last week she wrote about the Pink Scarf Project.  This is another post in a series about what life is like here in southern West Virginia.  Of course, you don’t have to live here to get a feel for it; just come visit us.  We can help with that.

The Secret To Grandma’s Magic West Virginia Recipe

I am a West Virginia woman, born and raised in one of America’s Coolest Small Towns, Fayetteville.

My grandparents lived on a working farm just across the New River Gorge in a tiny town called Edmond (home of America’s smallest post office!).  We would go there for dinner every Sunday of my childhood.  This was before the New River Gorge Bridge was built, of course, and our trip involved a drive down into the gorge and back up again.  What now takes about 45 seconds used to take closer to 45 minutes!

My grandmother always baked all her bread and desserts during the week, because back in that time period you cooked very little on the Sabbath Day.  Sunday was a day for church and visiting with relatives, and dinner was always a feast to behold:  chicken, pork, or beef that they raised on the farm, vegetables and salad fixings from their two gardens, and at least three desserts and three kinds of bread.  Everything was always fresh and delicious, in a way you can only get from a place you call home.

When we arrived my grandmother used to give us kids a small piece of homemade bread slathered with jam or jelly to “tide us over till dinner was ready.”  Then, she would do her “magic trick”, which we loved and never got tired of seeing.

She would take a can of evaporated milk from the refrigerator and pour it into a metal mixing bowl.  Then, she would get her rotary hand beater and start beating the milk at a rapid speed.  We would watch her arms shaking and our eyes would get bigger as the milk doubled, then tripled in volume.  It was an amazing sight for all of the kids, every time.

Next she would add sugar and vanilla.  And PRESTO, the most mouthwatering whipped cream you ever tasted would fill the bowl to the brim.

There was only one thing that kept us kids from diving into that creamy topping: my grandmother.  She had a strict rule that adults had to be served their dessert first (with the magical whipped cream on top) before the children could have any. If there was any left, that is.

So we stood around in anticipation, holding our spoons, impatiently waiting for that moment to arrive.  Sometimes, we got a bowl of that sweet vanilla mixture, other times just a few spoonfuls.  But it was always so worth the wait. To this day, I can still taste the creamy texture and picture my grandmother doing our favorite magic trick!


Elizabeth Morrison’s Whipped Cream (makes 8 cups)

1 Can evaporated milk
½ to ¾ cup sugar, depending on taste
1 tsp vanilla

Place milk in refrigerator for 24 hours to chill.  Pour into glass or metal mixing bowl.  Beat with mixer until peaks form, and gradually add sugar until blended.  Add vanilla.  Serve on any pie, cobbler or dessert.  Or just fill a bowl and grab a spoon.  Must be used immediately, as it will become milk again if allowed to sit in a warm room.

I don’t think you’ll have a problem with that last part.

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