I was raised on sweet tea, by southern Grace. The soft-around-the-middle woman served up both often and her door was always open with something tangibly sweet on the washer for whoever would drop by. She often chided that a little “mouse” seemed to get into her pound cake after school many afternoons while she was at work. I was sneaky like that — minus the crumbs I would leave.

Around Granny Grace’s table, life and lunch were sweeter and slower and always as good for the soul as the taste buds.

She was my Granny by blood, and a hundred others by love. You never knew who may be eating lunch with us any given Sunday, but she always made room.

In the same way true love knows no boundaries, neither does true hospitality.

My cousins and I sat around the small brown-topped card table we would set up in her cozy, but always “kept,” living room, and afterwards we would make our way back to the kitchen for dessert and maybe eavesdrop on some of the grown-up conversation. Especially if we had heard our name in-between bites of fried chicken and biscuit.

There were times in those years when my britches were both too big for my ego and yet too small for my size, when I didn’t like sharing her with everyone else. But it couldn’t be helped.

When someone is full of Jesus, the only thing they can do is give a bit of Him away.

Granny Grace gave away Jesus one heaping spoonful at a time through every meal she ever served or event she ever catered. And I watched.

Instagram Quote(Landscape)

 

I watched her roll the pastry out for her famous chicken stew.
I watched her beat the meringue that would drip liquid gold atop frothy white waves on her velvety chocolate pie.

I watched her fry cornbread, as holy as it was holey, that rarely made it to the table. And yes, cornbread can be holy y’all. One taste and you’d understand.

I looked and I listened. But not enough. Never enough.

Now that she’s gone and those days are distant memories, I wish I’d leaned in closer.
Stayed longer.
Listened deeper.
Paid attention to the details.
Memorized the rhythm of her hands and the ways of her quick whit that always put you at ease and left the same smile on your face that lit hers.

A good host does that. A good host models grace and gives it to others to try on until it fits.

She gave the grace she wore — all she had, wearing it as well as the soft, worn house coats she always cooked in. I don’t think they make those anymore. I’ve looked.

Granny Grace lived up to and into her name more than any other person God put in my raising up, rearing up path. That single mother of three taught me more about life, grace and love than any single person could and she did a lot of it around a table.

Just like Jesus.

He poured Himself out to His disciples…around a table.
He ministered to outcasts…around a table.
He served and was served…around a table.
He spent His last night on earth with those He loved most…around a table.

pound cake_GT

I’m poised to carry on the tradition of my Granny Grace and my Savior by sharing more grace…around my flea market table.

It’s not big or fancy. It rocks a little if you lean on one end. It’s scarred and the veneer is peeling. But life happens around our table and there’s always room for one more and a heaping helping of grace.

Grace is one thing that never wears out and always wears better the more it gets worn.

Now, if I could just figure out how to make her pound cake. I declare I think she left something out of her recipe she wrote in a recipe box of her favorites that she gave to my cousin and I a few years before she passed. Maybe I just haven’t found the right amount of Grace yet to equal what she put in hers. That’s most likely the culprit and a good ingredient to strive to match.

Here’s your copy to try. Let me know how you fare and if you find the secret ingredient…

**A funny side note about Granny Grace’s pound cake. The first time I made it while she was still living, it turned out hard and heavy. I mean HARD and HEAVY. I went back to her and asked exactly what she meant by “sweet milk.” She said, “You know. Just sweet milk.” I assumed that had meant condensed milk, which I considered to be very sweet. Yeah, that’s not what she meant. If you aren’t familiar with the term, “sweet milk” is…wait for it…milk. Just the plain jane white stuff you buy in the gallon at the grocery store. There’s your one free tip. The rest is up to you…

Granny Grace’s Plain Pound Cake
Serves 8
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups sugar
  2. 1 cup crisco
  3. 1 stick of butter
  4. 5 eggs
  5. 3 cups Swan Down cake flour (or plain flour)
  6. 1 cup sweet milk (**see note above)
  7. 1 tbsp of vanilla or you can use lemon flavor or almond extract
Instructions
  1. Cream sugar, crisco and butter together until smooth.
  2. Add 1 egg at the time until all have been added
  3. then add flour and milk alternately until all is gone.
  4. Start with flour and end with flour, adding flour last.
  5. Mix well.
  6. Bake at 325 for 1 ½ hours in a greased and floured pan.
Grace Table http://gracetable.org/
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Meredith Bernard / Posts / Blog
Meredith is a perfectly imperfect Daughter of the King, wife to her cattle man and "Mama" to two Littles ages 4 and 6. After giving up her “stay-on-the-road” job for her “stay-on-the-farm” dream, she now uses the passions God has given her to encourage others through her Lens and her Pen. In-between learning to homeschool and make cheese, she is on a quest to find #TheStillLife. For a few laughs and maybe a few tears, follow along with her kitchen mishaps and days raking hay and chasing dreams on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
  • Avatar
    Dawn
    http://www.journeysingrace.com/

    Love this. My grandma was the exact same and I had a hard time sharing her,too. She used to tell me how special the butter-milk was for her. I couldn’t fathom what she was talking about because although I love to cook with buttermilk I don’t like ti drink it. Then one day she told me it was the left-over milk after they made the butter from the cream. 🙂 I thought maybe that was your “sweet milk” for a minute because that is what my grandma would have called it as well a butter-milk.

    Memories are the gift we hold when they have gone home. You have some beauties.
    Blessings,
    Dawn

    August 10th, 2015 11:16
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    • Avatar
      Meredith Bernard

      Yes, Dawn, sounds like we both have some beautiful memories of our grandmothers! And yes, buttermilk could be sweet milk, too. Wonder how they kept it all straight? Ha. It was second nature, I guess. 😉 Thank you for stopping by today and sharing your memories. Having a precious Granny makes many a kindred spirit, doesn’t it? Blessings friend. <3

      August 10th, 2015 12:09
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    Jerri Miller

    I had a granny just like yours. I wish I had leaned in closer and listened to all she had to say while she was still here with me …

    August 10th, 2015 15:12
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    • Avatar
      Meredith Bernard

      I know that heart longing, Jerri. Then it’s all the more important to hold onto the memories we have and be thankful for them, you know? And there’s grace for the other. <3 Thank you for leaning in here, today. You have blessed me just by being here.

      August 10th, 2015 19:44
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    Leah Adams
    http://www.leahadams.org/

    What a beautiful post! I had a grandma like yours…her name was Eula. Chicken and dumplings were her ‘thing’. I make a lot of pound cakes. There is a secret to pound cakes. That ‘mix well’ part can be deceiving. Beat the hound out of the sugar, butter and Crisco, but once the eggs and flour have been added, turn the mixer down to low and mix only until each addition has been incorporated. Over mixing was my problem for so many years. Once I learned that secret, I was good to go. Also that ‘sweet’ milk….it must be whole milk, not skim or low fat. 🙂

    August 10th, 2015 16:24
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    • Avatar
      Meredith Bernard

      I didn’t even talk about my Granny’s chicken and dumplings (or chick stew or chicken pastry, depending on where you are from. 😉 ) BUT, they were also a staple of hers and I mentioned those in the eulogy I read at her funeral. 😀 And wow, those tips Leah!! I’m ready to go try this cake again. Right now. <3 Thank you for showing up and gracing me today!

      August 10th, 2015 19:43
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      06
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    Gay Boston

    It seems you left out an ingredient, too. “Cream sugar, crisco and butter together until smooth.” But there’s no butter listed in the ingredients.
    My grandma didn’t make pound cake, but her chocolate meringue pie was to die for, and I have never made nor tasted fried chicken as good as hers. Seems memories live on the tongue as well as in the mind and heart.

    August 10th, 2015 17:11
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    • Avatar
      Meredith Bernard

      Love this…memories live on the tongue as well as in the mind and heart. Such beautiful truth there. Thank you for pulling up a seat today. 🙂

      August 10th, 2015 19:23
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      • Avatar
        Gay Boston

        You’re welcome! I so enjoyed this post that I went to your blog. I have subscribed to your updates. Now I just have to make time to read all the interesting posts I saw on the blog page. And your pictures… wow! Thank you for sharing so much with all of us.

        August 11th, 2015 18:37
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      Meredith Bernard

      And you were right, Gay…I left out the entire stick of butter called for. 😉 It’s being corrected. Hard to have pound cake without butter, eh? 😛 Thank you for catching this!

      August 10th, 2015 20:34
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  • Avatar
    Tiffany
    http://www.simplyforone.net/

    I can picture your Granny around her table the same way I picture you around yours. She sounds amazing and she makes me long for that kind of legacy – the kind I didn’t have in my own life – for my family. Giving pieces of Jesus away – that’s just how life ought to be lived. You may have not leaned in the way you would of liked, none of us often do in the moment, but she left you that lesson and that’s just priceless. I’m going to hold out on this pound cake until I can sit around a table and eat it with you – even if it’s heavy and hard! 😉 Love you, sweet friend – your words are perfection.

    August 10th, 2015 17:40
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    • Avatar
      Meredith Bernard

      I love how you say giving pieces of Jesus away…isn’t that the best legacy any of us could leave? Yes. And it’s exactly what you are doing, as well. And girl, I’d love to share a piece (or three) of pound cake with you one day. Heavy or hard. 😉 Trusting that day will come! <3 Love you.

      August 10th, 2015 19:23
      Reply
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    Sabra Penley
    http://www.simplyoneinmarriage.com/

    So glad I followed you over here to Grace Table. What a wonderful site. And your words…always bring a smile to my face and joy to my soul. What precious memories of your Granny. Thanks so much for sharing them with us. She is a true inspiration.

    August 11th, 2015 11:23
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    • Avatar
      Meredith Bernard

      YOU are also a true inspiration, friend. <3 Thank you for following me here, too. You are a blessing always. xo

      August 11th, 2015 15:58
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    Kela
    http://pursuingwhatisexcellent.blogspot.com/

    See!! THIS! every word! Now I’m longing to be in my mom’s kitchen (didn’t spend a whole lot of time at my grandma’s); to go back in time to have a watchful eye so that I could know the rhythm of her hand.
    I’m thankful though to know the rhythm of her heart and walk with Jesus!
    Now that I’m a grandmom, it’s my desire to pass on the heartbeat of a servant; both to my family and to my God!

    August 11th, 2015 12:59
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    • Avatar
      Meredith Bernard

      I love this, Kela…”to know the rhythm of her hand, and be a recipient of the rhythm of her heart and walk with Jesus.” That’s some beautiful imagery right there, friend! I have no doubt you are passing on the heartbeat of Jesus to your grandchildren. Blessed to know you in this online world. Would love a real life hug one day. <3

      August 11th, 2015 16:00
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    Jessica Paulsen

    Hey Meredith, I loved this post and your words are beautiful. They remind me so much of my grandmothers. Two very different women but two extremely strong women who taught me so much. If only I had them back! I still wish I could just sit with them for just one more hour. Makes me cry just thinking about them. The pound cake recipe cracks me up….so much sugar, crisco, and butter…OH MY!! I was also thinking buttermilk might be the sweet milk but I guess not. And I love your comment on the housecoat they wore. Both my grandma’s did too. What a wonderful time to live in {in some ways}…no pinterest telling you how cute you need to look. One grandmother used mayonnaise to condition her hair and the other was almost always in her ‘curlers’. How I miss them!

    August 11th, 2015 20:21
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    • Avatar
      Meredith Bernard

      Yes, Jessica, just one more hour. Oh, how I know that longing. <3 Your comment on curlers reminds me that every Saturday night I would stay at her house and she would roll my hair in those pink cushiony (word?) curlers and I’d be so pretty for church on Sunday. 😀 God bless a Grandmother. <3 So glad we had them in our lives and we could reminisce together today. Thank you for being here!

      August 11th, 2015 20:28
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    Jenn

    That cake looks delicious. I can’t wait to try it. Unfortunately, I do not have the same type of fond memories of my grandmother(s). She lived with my family for eleven years and did not speak English well. Grandma was never mean to me but she was not a very happy woman. My other grandmother died when I was a toddler.
    I at times wish I had the heart warming memories of a doting grandma, you were blessed. 🙂

    August 13th, 2015 17:39
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    • Avatar
      Meredith Bernard
      http://meredithbernard.com

      I came back to this post for another reason and then realized I never saw your reply, Jenn.

      Were you able to try making the cake? I’d love to hear if you did!

      I’m so sorry to hear you didn’t have the same fond memories of your grandmother. 🙁 I have had similar thoughts towards the one grandfather I had in my life until his death when I was a teenager. I think more than anything God has helped me realize that I have the opportunity to be for the people in my life what I didn’t have in some key relationships. I will obviously never be a grandfather, but Lord willing I’ll be a grandmother and I hope to make memories with my grandchildren they will look back on fondly and share with their children and grandchildren. They will be different than the memories I had with my Grandmother, because time changes so much…but a good memory is a good memory. 🙂

      I don’t know who God’s put in your life to make memories with, but I know there is someone and maybe this cake can be a part of them! I’d be blessed to think so. Blessings to you, friend! <3

      January 19th, 2016 16:13
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