Thursday, April 12, 2012

Only in Bucks County: The Rosina Post

Fluffy, savory Matzo Ball Soup.... sweet Noodle Kugel... tangy Brisket with carrots and onion.... homemade Gefilte Fish... chopped Chicken Liver with celery and crackers on a fancy plate with a sterling silver spreader. And the best apple pie you've ever tried!
These are memories from my childhood- and all the delicious favorites your Jewish Grandma made too- right? You may be surprised that in my family these holiday treats were made by a church-going black woman from the South. Yup. The best food I've ever tasted was made by my grandparents' live-in housekeeper, Rosina. These are her recipes. And this is her story.

ROSINA AND HER BELOVED YORKIE, BAMBI OUTSIDE THE FAMILY HOME

Rosina was born in Virginia in 1925. The daughter of a college professor, Rosina also went on to graduate from the University of Richmond. With her degree in English, she chose to teach. But poor Rosina! Her first job was to teach high school students. Teaching kids who were just a few years younger than her, coupled with her mild, almost meek personality, proved to be too much for her. Unfortunately, Rosina failed at her first teaching job and instead of trying again, she packed her things and came to Philadelphia, looking to offer domestic help.

Rosina took a job as a live-in housekeeper with my grandparents when my father was eight years old. She has been a member of, and the guiding light for our small family ever since. My dad loved having her in his family, and I adored every second I spent with her as a kid. Rosina taught me a lot about loyalty, manners, and as I got older, how to be happy. She sacrificed things in her own personal life to remain a part of our family and continued to give us her love. When my grandfather passed away in 1981, Rosina chose to stay with my grandmom as more of a friend than an employee. They moved from their big house to a penthouse apartment, and lived together until my grandmom passed away.

ROSINA IN THE 1980's


It's been six years since my grandmother died. Rosina is alive and doing pretty well for her 86 years. She's living in a house that she inherited, and has plenty of support. She probably doesn't have a reason to make her delicious Brisket any longer, but she is still baking those delicious apple pies of hers - and some of the other treats I grew up with!



MY POP-POP AND GRANNY, WHEN I WAS VERY YOUNG

OUR 65 YEAR OLD FAMILY KUGEL RECIPE!!

YOU KNOW YOU WANT SOME!

I'VE NEVER MASTERED ROSINA'S APPLE PIE, BUT I SURE LOVE TO EAT IT!
“Dining with one’s friends and beloved family is certainly one of life’s
primal and most innocent delights,
one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal,”
-Julia Child


3 comments:

  1. Although I never met Rosina, I heard plenty of stories about her and her wonderful cooking from your OTHER grandma and mother. It's nice to actually see her photos and read your recollections.

    Cousin Don

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  2. I've been hearing about Rosina for years and I'm sure it's possible that I met her when I was very young, but seeing her picture was a thrill for me. I'm happy to have a face to put with the name. I certainly know what she means to your dad. Your writing is great in every respect! I thoroughly enjoyed the subject matter and everything after that was terrific! And I still love the blog about the cupcakes!!! The idea for corn on the cob stuck with me...I like the creativity especially, because with me limited baking talent, that one is do-able!!!

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  3. What a warm and comforting story. Just like a plate of MOIST homemade kugel!

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