Big Mama’s Famous Tea Cakes

I drew this picture of my daddy’s parents using a photo as a reference


A few weeks ago, I was cleaning out my office closet, which had been part of my parents’ suite when they lived here. Everything of theirs had been long-since gone through and given to all the grandkids. But this last box was left untouched because it was marked Art Supplies. I thought it was a bunch of my old art junk, and God knows I have plenty of that, so I kept moving it aside instead of going through it.

It turned out that the box contained a bunch of old beads from my mother’s long-ago thought of making jewelry.  But there was also an envelope that held a couple of random photos and a few handwritten recipes.

Among them…drumroll…the long-lost recipe of my grandmother’s famous tea cakes. (Similar to sugar cookies but not as sweet.)

We all called my daddy’s mother Big Mama, and I’m not sure why because she was never big, except in spirit. She had a cool life story that I’ll have to tell y’all sometime. But what I remember most about her was the taste of Tuscaloosa tap water and her tea cakes: melt-in-your mouth goodness that no bakery could rival.

I will always remember the day when my parents and I showed up at her house unannounced one afternoon to find her kitchen full of cooling cookies. That wasn’t unusual. But my grandmother, who was almost eighty years old at the time–but still very attractive–was flustered by our arrival because she was entertaining a gentleman caller about my daddy’s age. (Probably in his fifties.) I’m sure I wouldn’t have remembered the event if it hadn’t been so awkward. I remember my grandmother blushing and saying, “He’s only here for the cookies.” I’m almost sure she was telling the truth.

Here’s her recipe:
2 eggs
3/4 C sugar
2/3 C oil
2 C self-rising flour
1t vanilla
Mix with fork. (She underlined fork.) Drop with teaspoon onto greased cookie sheet. (Leave 1/8 ” between each spoonful of dough.) Bake at 350 for 10 – 12 minutes.

One Response

  • I tried making a batch using this recipe = and it didn’t even come close to Big Mama’s. She also made the most fantastic roast beef in the world. I do recall “that man” who came to visit her and she was pretty even in her 80’s.

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