My mother doesn't remember Grandma Cheney because she was only two months old when her grandmother died. Mom's older siblings, however, remember her well. My oldest aunt, now ninety-five years old, says that this picture is exactly as she remembers her. My aunt remembers that chair and says that Grandma Cheney loved to sit in that chair on her front porch.
Martha Jane was known by "Jane". She was a little, tiny woman who could speak the German language of her Pennsylvania Dutch heritage.
What Jane was best known for, though, was her wonderful cooking skills that she passed down to her daughters and daughters-in-law who passed them down to theirs.
She was, after all, Pennsylvania Dutch, and if you've ever eaten any traditional Pennsylvania Dutch food, you know it's scrumptious. My favorite meal comes from a recipe of Great Grandma Jane's that she taught my mom's mother how to make, just as she was probably taught by her own mother. Grandma Cheney taught my mom and her sisters how to make it and Mom taught me. My mom prepares this dish every year to make my birthday dinner special.
The Pennsylvania Dutch called this dish, Pot Pie. It's not a meat pie, like a lot of people think when they hear the word, "pot pie". It is similar to egg noodles, except you don't dry them before cooking. After rolling the dough, you cut it in squares and drop it in boiling broth.
Originally, the dish was made with chicken and maybe, some carrots and other vegetables in the broth. My grandma made hers with beef and my aunts still do. Some people prefer using a ham bone with meat on it. This is the way my mom and I make it.
Although, my great grandmother and grandmother died before I was born, I can visualize Great Grandma in the kitchen teaching my grandma how to make pot pie. I can "see" my mom as a little girl, leaning on the kitchen table, watching her mother roll out the dough and cut it in squares, and imagine Grandma Cheney letting Mom drop the squares into the boiling broth and stir it.
I'd better stop now, as I'm getting a hankering for Pot Pie. What a wonderful memorial to my female ancestors, knowing that their recipes are still family favorites.