yesterday was my monthly cooking club's annual christmas celebration. i look forward to cooking club each month, but especially at the holidays. this year's holiday theme was "just like grandma made." when i think of my grandma holmes' cooking i think of 3 things: baked macaroni and cheese, pies (peach and pumpkin) and, most importantly, california raisin bread.
my grandparents, cecil and kathleen holmes, live in hudson, iowa. growing up, we would travel a couple times a year to stay with them and i always looked forward to grandma's raisin bread. we would arrive and i'd immediately feel comforted by their house's warm, bread-y smell. sure enough, loaves of bread were found rising on the kitchen counter, almost ready to be baked. that fresh from the oven raisin bread just smelled and tasted like love.
making homemade bread has always intimidated me. actually, anything requiring yeast has always intimidated me. but my grandma taught me how to make her raisin bread several months ago and i decided i would be brave and attempt to make it by myself for cooking club. i pulled out the recipe my grandma had just written down for me over thanksgiving and read through it. lots of steps. but the last thing she wrote on the card was "enjoy making the bread- it's good for the soul. love, gr."
thankfully my children cooperated and napped long enough for me to go through the whole process: mixing, cooling, kneading, rising, deflating, rising, kneading, rising, baking, cooling. while i *almost* forgot to mix in the raisins, i'd say my bread was a success. maybe not quite as good as grandma's, but still delicious, and definitely good for the soul.