Twelve years ago this month, this photo was taken with my mom and her mother, Grandma Pinky. Grandma lived in a (say it like Roseanne Roseannadanna) teensy, tiny, itsy, bitsy little town in Pennsylvania. She was the family “keeper of the cornerstone recipes” ….halupki (cabbage rolls), pierogi (try them!), but her first love in the kitchen – was baking. My grandmother used to swap dough recipes on the phone with her neighborhood friends like we trade stocks now. Plus, she had to teach you how to make something. In person. Period.She was direct like that. As a family we tend to be.
Despite being born in Texas, I am the direct descendant of “Yankees” – we’re loud, speak quickly and direct, we don’t always ask How-Yer-Doin’, nor do we get flowery, we get to the point. It’s not a lack of love for each other, we’re just efficient people you see.
So, she flew down and we, as women of her blood line, learn how to make the significant foods of our heritage. One such was her bread rolls. The size of softballs, I remember her coming to my mom’s kitchen, and I was tasked with “writing the recipe down”….because…despite the meticulous nature of yeast breads and baking in general…she had no recipe.
First to note: she was given a measuring cup – there was no measuring. It was immediately relegated to “scoop”. Scoop “X” amounts of flour in, sometimes halfsies on the cup, sometimes a full above the line cup, but when it was right, you stop scooping. and so on and so forth for the yeast, water, etc….
In the middle of all this, we are talking and laughing (loudly) and Grandma SHOUTS “Spry the Pan!”……my sister and I…our backs shot up straight and sprang to action……we saw the pan. We are both pretty decently able to bake and cook. We looked at each other, fear in our eyes….WHAT ON EARTH is SPRY?
We stared at her. Dumbfounded. and, as aforementioned, we’re efficient people, we need answers. Don’t look at me.
DO IT. She repeated….SPRY THAT PAN!…and then, I said, meekly, “What is Spry”…”You know! The Ohl!”….Oh, the “ohl”, the “ohl”…”The GREASE”….The OIL!…
Spry…is PAM. and as google would tell me later…Spry was produced in …..1936 until it was widely gone in the US by the 70s. It’s entire product lifetime had spanned me before I was born….nonetheless, in order to escape further judgement, I got the Pam, I SPRYED THE PAN, and we finished the rolls, no further delay. (Thank Goodness.)
I would share the recipe, but let’s be honest, it’s a pandemic and I’m gonna have to visit you just to show you anyway. In the meantime, SPRY THE PAN.