My Mum Was So Smart! - Penny Lane Blog at - 271736

Penny Lane

My Mum was so smart! 
Apr. 1, 2012 6:46 pm 
Updated: Apr. 29, 2012 5:53 pm
What a wise woman my Mum was. When she had my brothers and sister she nursed them because that is how babies were fed. By the time I came along 'formula' and bottles were all the rage. She resisted the 'norm' - battled the 'modern' trend and nursed me. Her nurses at the hospital thought her 'old fashioned' and her 'friends' scorned her - but she knew in her gut it was the right thing to do - it was natures way.  

She fought other similar battles - on other fronts. When margarine was introduced - my Mum refused to buy into the hype. She grew up on butter and she never liked or understood the appeal of  margarine. She didn't really have a reason to dislike margarine other than, "It's not butter."  

She knew what the real thing should taste like and it wasn't margarine.  

She bought butter - we ate butter.

When my friends were bringing Twinkies and Moon Pies in their lunch boxes - I had a Thermos full of soup and a piece of wheat bread buttered with BUTTER and one of her Oatmeal cookies made with real butter.

Our restaurant served BUTTER - sales reps would come in and try to get her to buy the better and cheaper margarine - nope, she wouldn't cave. It might have helped the bottom line and believe me, our restaurant needed help in that regard but she maintained that if she didn't want to eat it she didn't want to feed it to her customers or her family.

She was light years ahead of her time.

I remember a heated debate between my Uncle Bill and Auntie Joyce in the early 70's while in England. Joyce had brought home a tub of soft 'butter'. Uncle Bill objected! Auntie Joyce insisted it was 'so much better for you.' To make a long story short - Uncle Bill reigned supreme and 'soft butter' never appeared in their home again. At that time we still didn't understand Trans-Fats or hydrogenated oils. He, like my mother just didn't buy into the 'Modern is better' mind set. He lived to be 92 - eating BUTTER.  

I am so excited that one of Brand Ambassador partners this month is .......
You guessed it!   

Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board in partnership with 
America's Dairy Farmers. 

Check out their website.    

 Here are a couple of recipes I have made featuring butter in the past few weeks.  I can't wait to try a few of the featured butter recipes this month.  


I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador(a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Products received from advertiser are only used for experienced-based reviews on Penny Lane. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Penny aka Baking Nana.

Apr. 1, 2012 7:07 pm
I too bought into the Soft butter. Live and learn. Now I only have the real thing in my house. Salted, unsalted, as long as it says Butter, I grab it! Your Lucky have had such a smart Mama. Think I might make that cake next week for the lunchladies, we start Spring break the day after Eastet. Really looks delish! Thanks BN for a Lovely blog.
Apr. 1, 2012 7:12 pm
Thanks Patty! Little did we Mum & Uncle Bill were smart and didn't even know it! I wish they were both here to tell them. I am a huge fan of Olive Oil but there is nothing like butter. :)
Apr. 1, 2012 7:30 pm
Love your post. A lovely tribute to your mum!
Apr. 1, 2012 7:36 pm
You learned well, Baking Nana! Very well!
Apr. 1, 2012 7:48 pm
Thank you Paula. She was a trial blazer and didn't even know it. She took a lot of 'heat' from her well meaning peers and stuck her ground. Then there was the time that her good fried Harriet turned us all orange - she was juicing an abundant crop of carrots - Opps not jaundice - too much Beta Carotene! LOL.
Apr. 1, 2012 7:51 pm
Marianne - even then she understood moderation - we didn't get unlimited access to butter or any other fats but she never bought into Wonder Bread either. Amazing for the time considering she raised her children during the refined food revolution. Thanks for stopping in. :)
Apr. 1, 2012 11:38 pm
I buy nothing but the real thing baby!
Apr. 2, 2012 4:31 am
Even though your mum and uncle Bill are not here for you to tell them; I am sure they know as they watch down on you.
Apr. 2, 2012 5:28 am
The truth of eating real foods ... nice blog!
Apr. 2, 2012 6:17 am
Butter will never carry the American Heart Association endorsement but it should have some endorsement from allergists, gastroenterologists, and oncologists for its lack of irritants. Butter is the only fat that we will not cut back on because we believe it's benefits out-weight any risks.
Apr. 2, 2012 6:39 am
Your blog was smooth like.....BUTTER !
Apr. 2, 2012 6:51 am
Good morning Mauigirl. Since becoming a brand ambassador for AR last June I can honestly say this is one product I am really excited to feature. Why? Because it is indeed the "REAL" thing. :)
Apr. 2, 2012 6:56 am
Hi Misty. Thanks for your kind comments. I think it is interesting that they understood instinctively what it took scientists and doctors decades to figure out. :)
Apr. 2, 2012 7:08 am
Thank you Linda. Mike - you are right, the American Heart Association will never endorse butter - that is OK. A few years ago when I decided to purge our diet of all trans-fats it wasn't easy. It was a real eye opener to see how processed foods with ingredient labels that read more like a long paragraph were more common than the 'real' deal. I am with you - the risks are minimal compared to the alternatives. Thanks for stopping in.
Apr. 2, 2012 7:10 am
The Orange Blossom Cake looks awesome. Apricots - genius. Also wondering how your pork roast turned out?
Apr. 2, 2012 8:19 am
I love butter! Remember going into a field of buttercups as a child, and held one under your chin? The legend was that if your chin glowed yellow, you liked butter!
Apr. 2, 2012 8:42 am
You smooth talker, Doug. :) Thanks for dropping in.
Apr. 2, 2012 8:47 am
bd.weld - I am not a huge sweets fan but that cake was really good. :) As for the pork roast - it was fabulous. So tender and juicy that you could cut it with a fork. Problem for me is my oven. It vents so fast that it doesn't retain enough heat - next time I will cook to 142 at 225 degrees and then shut it down. The meat only went up a couple of degree after being cooked to 130 and I had to turn the oven on again. I love that probe thermometer that Mauigirl got me. :) BTW - the pork is gone - every bite was perfect!
Apr. 2, 2012 8:49 am
sueb. I had forgotten about the buttercups. :) Good memories. There is something comforting and delicious about real butter.
Apr. 2, 2012 12:27 pm
Thanks Baking Nana, I hope that your mum serves as an inpiration to all of us, as they are always cooking up some new type of franken-food in the labs. I have read about how margarine is made-so gross!
Apr. 2, 2012 1:34 pm
stick a fork in me, I'm done - Thanks for stopping in. I too have read about how margarine is made - pretty sad when you think about it. I love the ingredient label on the side of the butter package! Cream, salt. :) I am thankful that my mother wasn't so eager to be 'modern'. :)
Apr. 2, 2012 2:39 pm
Hi Baking Nana! It wasn't until I was grown did I understand how way ahead of her time my mother was! As technology and trends evolved and more and more discoveries regarding nutrition, eating habits, exercise were revealed, my mother knew these things 70 years ago and fresh out of medical college. Now, SHE was a pioneer! Bring on the real deal - butter, hooray! So looking forward to being with you, my friend!
Apr. 2, 2012 4:08 pm
My mother was a true believe in foods from nature... the closer to the earth the better. As kids we really wanted sugared cereals and the bread in the polka dot package. I am so glad we got the healthy foods and the homemade treats made with real butter. Very nice tribute to your loving Mum who's time was too short.
Apr. 2, 2012 4:39 pm
Hi Cathy! Indeed your mother was a true pioneer! Medical college 70 years ago for a woman alone speaks volumes. Interesting how it takes becoming adults ourselves to make us appreciate the wisdom of our mothers. :) Like I said, I never had the chance to tell my mother any of these things - but I have done my best to pass them on to my children & grandkids. Her legacy lives on through them.
Apr. 2, 2012 5:09 pm
Wonderful blog Penny! I wish my mom had the foresight that your mom did. She was on the cutting edge of oleo, margarine, twinkies and any other processed foods that would make her life easier (meaning...less cooking required)! When Hamburger Helper was invented, she did the happy dance for months! I wish she had stuck with the pure and simple, as close to natural as possible, just as your mom did!
Apr. 2, 2012 5:11 pm
Marie C - You are right my mother's time here on earth was way to short. She laid a good foundation for us in her few short years though. Your mother and mine would have liked each other. There was no polka dot packaged bread in our home. My brother was a Type 1 diabetic from the time he was 4 years old - not a lot was known about proper nutrition for diabetes then. All she was told was avoid sugar - there was no accurate way to even test blood sugar levels - I am convinced that it was my mother's down to earth approach to food and nutrition that has helped to extend his life and in process taught us all good wholesome eating habits. It is probably the reason I am not a huge sugar lover to this day. BTW - my brother has had Type 1 diabetes for 62 years and to this day is healthy and active - he is probably healthier than most people his age. He and I often say that Mom knew what she was doing before the doctors did. She did her job well. :)
Apr. 2, 2012 5:18 pm
Wyattdogster - Let me tell you, I ate all those things at my friends houses. I envied their pretty lunches - their mother's 'modern' approach. I would eat sugar cereal at a friends house and then come home to a bowl of oatmeal. A real treat was oatmeal with a sprinkling of brown sugar and a pat of butter on top. :) My friends mothers would gossip about our chickens and our garden, our clothes line and a host of other things I am sure, as if we were poor. No, we weren't poor - actually in hindsight we were rich beyond measure.
Apr. 2, 2012 5:48 pm
We had both butter and margarine in the house when I was growing up. Oddly enough, it was my dad who wanted the margarine because it was easier to spread. Dad lived with us after my mother passed away and at one of his doctor appointments his diet was discussed as a means of keeping his blood pressure in check and because of a few other issues. This was back in the late 70s and his doctor told me to get rid of the margarine and use whipped butter. I was delighted to get on board and Dad lived another 20 years with me feeding him as well as I could. (Darn man would sneak salty snacks in his bedroom!) I still use whipped butter for all but baking.
Apr. 2, 2012 6:17 pm
BSM - NB Papa complains about wanting to be able to spread the butter easier- I understand this - BUT when given the chance he will spread WAY to much - so I do the spreading most of the time - I keep butter at room temp for these occasions. Whipped butter is a good alternative - I actually really like the butter whipped with some olive oil that I make myself. Those salty snacks are addictive, aren't they? When it comes to baking it is real butter for sure. Nothing beats it!
Apr. 3, 2012 5:42 am
Your Christmas menu is one of my Yorkshire-born husband's favorite meals!
Apr. 3, 2012 6:12 am
JRS - My mother and father were from Yorkshire, in fact my brothers and sisters were born in Yorkshire as well. That menu represents our British roots and never changes. Thanks for stopping in.
Apr. 3, 2012 6:31 am
Your Mother was certainly ahead of her time. With this pregnancy (my third) I, no joke, got sent home with TWO gift bags full of formula samples and coupons at my first PRE-NATAL appointment. Even choosing to breastfeed exclusively doesn't mean the formula companies can't make money off of you. My pediatrition pressured me at every appointment to give my infant vitamin drops, made by- enfamil. Cause apparently breast milk isn't enough. *eyeroll* We tried it, and my then infant gagged, sputtered, and spit it out. Never again... I won't even go into the whole vaccines debate.
Apr. 3, 2012 7:37 am
You indeed had a very wise mother, Baking Nana! My mother did her best to ensure that I was happy and healthy, but unfortunately, that did not extend to eschewing white bread, margarine, and snack cakes. I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time with my great grandmother as I was growing up, and she always made her own butter with milk from a local dairy farm. I haven't bought margarine a single time since moving out on my own 25 years ago, and my fridge is always stocked with cultured butter from grass-fed cows (love my local farmers market!). I use it judiciously, but the taste cannot be beat. Thanks for sharing your stories of your mum with us.
Apr. 3, 2012 7:48 am
Just love your blog!! What a nice way to honour your Mum and recognize her wise ways......You are sweet like the freshest butter......Baking Nana, I bet your children and grandchildren know just how lucky they are to have you......there will be butter on our dinner table this Easter.
Apr. 3, 2012 7:55 am
Hi Baking Nana, where would we be without butter? The pancakes look delicious. My, what a learning experience-growing up in the restaurant business.
Apr. 3, 2012 9:55 am
cicischwartz - Thanks for stopping in. I delivered my first of 3 children 36 years ago - it was the same way then. In fact, they didn't ask if you were going to nurse - they asked which formula you were going to use. Worse than that though on my first pre-natal appointment I was giving 2 prescriptions, one for vitamins and one for morning sickness. Fortunately, I am not much of a pill taker & I didn't have much morning sickness and didn't take those pills - turns out that they causes severe birth defects! BTW - those vitamins are nasty smelling - I can't imagine what they taste like. :(
Apr. 3, 2012 10:02 am
wisweetp - How lucky you are to have known your great grandmother. What special memories those must be. I live smack dab in the middle of what used to be California's Dairy Country - many of the dairys have moved but we still have quite a few left - sadly I can't buy milk or cream directly from them or I would be making my own butter too. You are fortunate to have that Farmer's Market.
Apr. 3, 2012 10:09 am
ellie - Thank you for your kind comments. I think that because I lost my mother so young and I cherish every memory of her, I am more acutely aware of 'making memories' with my grand children. I will be known as the Nana that baked them bread and made cheese. We talk a lot about nutrition and additives - they are growing up in a Fast Food world. Hopefully our memories that we make together will stay with them.
Apr. 3, 2012 10:16 am
Lela - Good to 'see' you. The pancakes were really good. I like them with no syrup just butter. :) I was very young when my Mum opened her restaurant - I learned many things through that experience - the most important was that owning a restaurant is HARD WORK 7 days a week. Actually, that whole experience could be the subject of many blogs. One thing is for sure - I share my mother's passion for food.
Apr. 3, 2012 4:26 pm
I stand corrected - my grand daughter just left and gave me a hug and said - thanks for the Caprese Salad! So, that said - she will remember me for that. :)
Apr. 3, 2012 8:47 pm
I did not have REAL butter until I was about 5 or 6 years old when we visited my Paternal Granparents on their Dairy Farm in Indiana. It wasn't yellow and I didn't like it. Now, you couldn't pay me to eat margarine. Great blog Baking Nana!
Apr. 3, 2012 8:49 pm
It was my DH who told me they put dye in margarine to make it yellow. And, honest-to-goodness.... that pale buttery color of REAL butter is one of my favorite colors.
Apr. 4, 2012 8:11 am
Yum! Your Mum was so smart! That cake looks heavenly!
Apr. 4, 2012 8:15 am
Good morning Candice. My Uncle Bill remembered when margarine was first introduced it was white and people didn't like that so they added yellow food coloring so it would be more appealing. I suppose it is all about what you get used to eating. Personally, I like the REAL deal.
Apr. 4, 2012 9:31 am
Hi Cat. I know you have made your own REAL butter. :) Good stuff. Thanks for stopping in.
Apr. 4, 2012 11:02 am
How wonderful our state Dairy Board is working w/ AR!! We only use butter, too. Before Christmas I got about 25 pounds on sale for $1.99 a pound. Froze it and we are still, of course, using it. Yesterday it was on sale for one day for $1.69 per pound! Bought 8 more pounds for the freezer. Should last til it goes on sale again in the Fall for baking season!! Also bought 2 Butter Lambs for the Easter dinner table. Great blog, BN!!! As always......
Apr. 4, 2012 11:23 am
chris k - I was thrilled to get this assignment. I too stock up on butter when it is one sale. The butter lambs are a great idea for Easter! Baking = Butter for me and I wouldn't have it any other way. :)
Apr. 5, 2012 11:34 am
Go MOMS! My Mom nursed me and I nursed both my kids- best memories ever! And kids hardly sick a day in their lives. :) Both my parents grew up on dairy farms in Wisconsin. We always have and always will drink a lot of milk. I never buy margarine.(yuck!) My apologies to E.B. Browning ;) ~~~Ode to Butter~~~ Oh Butter, How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth of thy rich flavor, and the breadth to which you expand as I whip you full of air in my mixer, and the height to which you rise in my pound cakes. My soul reaches for you, gently melted and sprinkled on golden fluffy kernels of crunchy popcorn. I love thee to the level of every day's most quiet need, by morning toast and by evening’s dark chocolate espresso cake topped with Italian meringue butter cream. I love thee at any expense, as a cook who strives for what is truly right. I love thee purely, as simply spread on home made bread. I love thee with the passion put to use in my Grandmother’s recipes, and with celebratory dishes marking my children’s milestones in life. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose while I struggled to misplace the pounds I earned for your sake. I love thee with all the bowls, spatulas, and pastry cutters in my kitchen; and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after thy costs contract. =D
Apr. 5, 2012 11:35 am
"contract" as in shrink or go on SALE! Love a Butter Sale!!!
Apr. 5, 2012 11:48 am
In today's world of convenience foods, we have overlooked the simplicity of air popped popcorn in favor of processed microwave popcorn full of salt and oils instead of good ole butter. My popcorn is air popped (just like my Mom did as we had popcorn for dinner every Sunday night- with apple slices) into a clean paper grocery bag (I pop corn until it is 2/3 full thank you) and I melt 1/2 cup of salted butter and gently sprinkle it over the top of the popped corn while my husband gently shakes the bag. So simple. But people go NUTS for it because they are so used to the (nasty to my opinion) microwave popcorn or movie theater popcorn that is "butter flavored". Hot buttered fresh air popped popcorn... drooling right now! :)
Apr. 5, 2012 4:13 pm
goodfood4ursoul - I LOVE IT! Thank you for that! Like many other things Popcorn deserves real BUTTER - not butter flavored oils - or butter flavored sprinkles. My sister in law is a Wisconsin native - she shared the very best recipe for pound cake with me many years ago. Yes - lots of butter including buttering and flouring the pan. One time I tried using 'something else' to coat the pan - but still used butter in the recipe - you know what? It wasn't as good and everyone noticed. No more 'spray' coating for me - even the pan should be buttered!
Apr. 5, 2012 7:25 pm
Butter is superior. Pound cake cannot be made without it, therefore nothing else should be used.
Apr. 5, 2012 8:03 pm
RI - I totally agree! Butter for greasing the pan is MANDATORY! NO SUBS ALLOWED :) Thanks for stopping in!
Apr. 5, 2012 8:14 pm
What's my favorite breakfast item? . . . Butter. What's my favorite lunch item? . . . Butter. What's my favorite dinner item? . . . BUTTER!!!!! What do I want for dessert? . . . you guessed it!
Apr. 6, 2012 5:36 am
luv2cook - You crack me up! Indeed, butter should be it's own food group. :) It is probably a very good thing that I don't have access to the kind of butter Petey makes. Drooling just thinking about it.
Apr. 6, 2012 6:24 am
I bet Petey's butter is to die for... I have a friend with a Jersey cow, in the summer her butter is almost school bus yellow- naturally- and nothing in the store can touch it for flavor... those Jerseys & Guernseys give a higher butterfat percentage in their milk. Not to mention they are very pretty cows :)
Apr. 6, 2012 10:04 am
goodfood - I can just picture the color & taste of that butter. Ahhhhh!
Apr. 6, 2012 3:31 pm
I couldn't agree more! Now if only people showed the same wisdom regarding REAL sugar vs. that artificial garbage... erm, I mean sweeteners. That really is my biggest pet peeve; people ditching REAL food in exchange for synthetic chemicals disguised as food just to reduce their calorie intake. If only they'd realize that artificial this 'n' that is so much more damaging to their bodies than calories!
Apr. 6, 2012 5:51 pm
Melanie - I absolutely agree with you - REAL is the key word - I think our bodies know how to metabolize REAL sugars & fats - start adding chemicals and well - I think it is just asking for trouble. We do understand a lot more about nutrition than we did in my mother's day but I can't say that it has improved our diet, not one little bit. Don't get me started on Diet Soda! YIKES! In the meantime - I am going to bask in a month of REAL butter!
Apr. 14, 2012 9:26 pm
Bnana YOU did it! I didn't want to read a butter blog until I posted mine. This was SO good. XOXO
Apr. 17, 2012 1:39 pm
Thank you FF5 - this has been a fun month of activities. :)
Mrs. C 
Apr. 25, 2012 6:56 pm
Your mum qould have liked my Uncle Greald. He was a BUTTER promoter! When the margerines and soft spreads started appearing on the tble, he was prepared to tell the chemical, nutritional, and flavorful accounts of why real butter IS BEST!
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Baking Nana

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About Me
Every morning my granddaughter calls and says, "Good morning Nana. Whatcha doing? Are you baking Nana?" Hence my name, Baking Nana. I love to bake bread and never get tired of it. Yeast is additive! Visit me at If you would like to contact me directly please use the 'Contact Me' on my site.
My favorite things to cook
I go through phases, Asian for a while then Italian then on to something else. I love experimenting with new flavors and different spices. Some times my husband will ask if we will ever have "ordinary" food again. Once in a while I have to toss him a burger just to keep quite! Actually, he is a good sport and my favorite taste tester.
My favorite family cooking traditions
In our family if it is your birthday you get to choose the menu. We have had some really interesting meals. In March we have 5 birthdays so we do one big party - what a crazy menu that is! Christmas dinner is very traditional. Sausage rolls, Prime Rib, Yorkshire Pudding, gravy, Green beans with bacon, Mashed Potatoes (the really fattening kind) and trifle for dessert. If I were to dare to omit any of those items I would be lynched.
My cooking triumphs
Mastering really great bread is probably my biggest triumph. I am always so pleased when I create a perfect Asian dish.
My cooking tragedies
There have been a few but none so horrible that I can't laugh about them now.
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