This is a repost of something I wrote for my very first A-Z Challenge in 2013! It was on smells or odors and for P, I chose the warm and yeasty smell of prune doughnuts made by my grandmother.
My grandmother, whom we called Memmere, came from Poland with her mother, arriving at Ellis Island in the 1890s, when she was about 5. She was the oldest of ten children and was not educated beyond second grade because her mother got tuberculosis and she became responsible for raising her siblings. Memmere married a French Canuck, as she liked to tell to me – my grandfather Peno, whose ancestors were French and came from Canada. Peno was a carpenter.
There was a period of several years, when I was probably between the ages of 2 and 5, when my mother and I lived with Memmere and Peno. My father’s job selling insurance didn’t pay him enough to support us. Which brings me, at last, to the prune doughnuts.
Memmere loved to cook, and one of the things she cooked often for us were pączki (pronounced pohnch’ kee), fried rounds of yeast dough filled with a variety of things – strawberry, apricot, raspberry, but most a traditional prune puree.
She didn’t leave my mother her recipe but here is a good source:
I remember sitting in the kitchen while Memmere dropped the doughnuts in hot oil, my grandfather at the kitchen table, singing to her in French. He was very romantic and frequently sang her love songs. They were married for well over 50 years. Maybe this is why I relate prune doughnuts and love songs.