site de rencontre payant Today I would like to introduce you to my grandmother-in-law, Ethel Zeff Jaffe. I first met Ethel in person the night before my wedding. I had spoken to her many times on the phone, and I knew she was a hoot, but it had not prepared me for the amount of energy and spunk she possessed. She was small and light as a feather 10 years ago, but she grabbed me by my face and pulled me down to her, kissed both my cheeks and then sent me flying back up. She is a firecracker!
http://www.csipkehotel.hu/includes/miowe/4223 This summer, we had the opportunity to go visit Ethel with our three children. At the age of 97, Ethel still lives completely her own. She welcomed my family into her tiny apartment with so much patience and graciousness; this is especially impressive if you know my children at all. They are good kids, but they are kids. Taking my kids anywhere that has breakable items in a contained space feels like trying to control an octopus on caffeine. Anyway, the entire length of our visit she kept saying “this is my joy” “they are my love” and never became upset with them touching her keep-sakes and asking a million questions.
http://www.pavegreen.org/vioper/1246 Ethel has so much energy, enthusiasm and love. She makes friends wherever she goes and truly loves people. The ladies at the various grocery stores she shops at know her by name. She is one of those people you are drawn to because of the love that emanates from her. As you get to know her through this post, I just know you will love her too.
more I have wanted to write this post for months now, 5 months to be exact. Like I said, we visited Ethel over the summer and I asked her very specific questions while we were there with this post in mind. However, when I thought of the recipes I would share from Grandma Ethel, I kept coming back to her cookies, even though I really wanted to share some traditional Jewish recipes. Every year for the past 10 years she has mailed my family cookies for Christmas. Now, these are not fancy cookies, but they are made with all the love this sweet, 97 year old grandma can pour into a batch of cookies for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
So, here is a little more about a truly unassuming, but truly remarkable woman.
Ethel was born in October of 1919 in Chicago, Illinois. She is the daughter of Jewish immigrants from along the Poland-Russian boarder. She grew up in a very devote Jewish family and they spoke Yiddish in her home.
At the age of 17, Ethel took a job in a shoe factory instead of completing school due to circumstances being so hard for her family. She worked on the machines, labeled shoe sizes and eventually worked in the office.
In 1946, Ethel’s mother was an excellent furrier in Chicago and was offered a position as a furrier at a store in California. Ethel and her 2 sisters agreed to move with her. When they arrived in California around November of 1946, the Zeff girls and their mother were lavishly dressed in beautiful fur coats and hats. Ethel remembers people in California looked at them like they were crazy because most people were running around in shorts. Her mother made them the warm fur outwear to withstand the bitter-cold Chicago winters; however, they quickly saw that they would not need in them in California , so they decided to sell their furs.
Trying to find a place to live in the crowded LA area proved difficult. So they lived in a motel for almost a year due to a housing shortage after World War II. They finally found an apartment that was above two stores. After a while of working, Ethel, her sisters and her mother were all able to pitch in to purchase a little two bedroom house for a couple hundred dollars.
One day, the manager of the company that Ethel worked for, who was Jewish and he knew that Ethel was Jewish, invited her to attend the dance at their Temple one Saturday night. It was at that dance in 1948 that Ethel met Seymour Jaffe, a returned veteran from WWII. Soon after arriving at the dance, Ethel was alsked to dance by Seymour; she agreed and they had a “lovely time” until Seymour’s mother interrupted with a request that he dance with her. This was something Ethel could not stand, a “Mama’s boy,” she said. It bothered Ethel so much that when Seymour asked to take her home she refused. Well somehow Seymour got her phone number and kept calling and calling. Finally, Ethel’s mother couldn’t stand it anymore and made Ethel tell him herself to stop calling. Somehow Seymour convinced her to go to dinner with him. She had a wonderful time and they quickly fell in love.
After dating for 3 months they decided to get married. So, on December 30, 1948 Seymour and Ethel had a simple, but beautiful wedding at the Zeff home with family and was officiated by their Rabbi.
Early in their marriage Seymour was attending school to become a television repairman and in the evening he delivered medications. Eventually Seymour and Ethel settled in Whittier, California. Seymour had a job as a TV repairman and they were able to buy a GI home for only $25 down and $75 a month payments. Can you imagine! One of Ethel’s sisters and her husband were able to purchase a home right next door and her other sister and husband purchased a home one block away. It was such a happy time for Ethel.
When their first child was expected, they were thrilled. However, the baby was still born. Ethel, under the good care of her mother was buoyed up both physically and emotionally through this hard time. About a year later, Ethel and her husband became pregnant again. At about the 7 month she was put on bed-rest until she was ready to deliver. In April of 1951, Ethel delivered a healthy baby girl they named Rochelle. Almost exactly 3 years later, they welcomed their son Stephen into their family in April of 1954.
Ethel loved being a mother and raising her children. With living so close to her sisters, she was also able to be very involved in the lives of her nieces and nephews. This established relationships that have lasted a lifetime. Ethel had such an influence on her extended family that all that almost all of them came to celebrate her 90th birthday. She was in heaven. Family was and is everything to her.
As Rochelle and Stephen’s grew and attended school, their friends loved to come over to Ethel’s home. Ethel was a fun, and generous host. She would made them all sorts of delicious treats and often had her children’s friend join them for dinner.
As time went on Rochelle and Stephen grew up. After Rochelle graduated from high school, she worked in a lot of different medical offices. In time she met Dennis Beddard. After dating a while, they decided they wanted to get married. So Rochelle called her mother to say she was bringing Dennis home to meet them, but not to tell Seymour because she wanted to surprise him. Ethel was so overjoyed and made arrangements to go out to dinner on Saturday night, without letting Seymour know. The Thursday before the surprise meeting, Seymour went out to play golf, but never made it home that day. While playing golf he had a sudden heart attack and died.
Despite the tragedy, Ethel found joy in carrying out the wedding for Dennis and Rochelle the following year in 1975. Ethel always found her strength and happiness with family near.
For the next several years Ethel was busy caring for her mother, who had dementia. Eventually, Ethel was required to admit her mother to a nursing home. For almost 3 years she visited her mother 5 days a week. In 1986, Ethel’s mother died. Once again, Ethel found strength in her family when her niece Gail moved in and lived with her for 2 years.
Then in 1989, after much convincing, Ethel sold her home in Whittier, California and moved up to Sacramento to be close to her daughter Rochelle and her growing family. Ethel loved being part of her grandchildren’s lives. She loved making Sunday dinners for them, many of these meals included potato pancakes, matzo ball soup and roast. Ethel also loved having her grandchildren spend the night, and the grandchildren loved it because Ethel would spoil them with treats, watching television, and going shopping for things that they needed or wanted.
As time went on, Ethel continued to face much heartache. Ethel ended up losing both her sisters, her son in a tragic car accident and then her daughter to cancer.
Despite being the only living member of her immediate family left, Ethel works very hard to make sure the remaining family members know of her love and concern. Weekly she calls her grandchildren; she never forgets to sends out birthday and anniversary cards, she mails cookies every Christmas, and she faithfully prays for her grandchildren and extended family.
Now that she is 97, Ethel finds it hard to do many of the things she used to love, especially baking. Ethel fills her days with reading, walking and finds any excuse to laugh. Oh, how she loves to laugh! If there is a secret to staying young, I think she sums it up: exercising the mind and body and filling your soul with laughter.
I hope you enjoyed getting to know this sweet woman. She truly inspires my family.
As I mentioned Grandma Ethel loves to bake and every Christmas sends us box filled with cookies. I have two of Grandma Ethel’s cookie recipes to share with you today.
The first recipe is for a cream cheese cookie. It is quick recipe made with just a few ingredients, but is really delicious. These are the first cookies to disappear once the box arrives. There is a lot of room for creativity with the recipe. You could change out the yellow cake mix for other flavors and decorate them with seasonal sprinkles. This is also a great recipe for kids to make.
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine
- 1 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- 1 box yellow cake mix
- chocolate jimmy sprinkles (or another kind of your preference)
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Cream the butter and cream cheese. Then blend in the egg yolk and vanilla. Add the cake mix 1/3 at a time. Mix well and then cover and chill for 30 minutes.
- Drop by tablespoon onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
- There is a lot of room for creativity with the recipe. You could change out the yellow cake mix for other flavors and decorate them with seasonal sprinkles.
The next recipe is for oatmeal raisin cookie. It is simple,quick and delicious. This recipe is very consistent and again, very versatile. Grandma has sent these cookies as oatmeal raisin, oatmeal chocolate chip or oatmeal butterscotch. These cookies are also quick and easy to. I hope you enjoy them.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1-1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3 cups old fashioned oatmeal
- 1 cup raisins, chocolate chips, or butterscotch chips
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In large bowl cream butter and sugars well. Add eggs one at a time and then vanilla.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and cinnamon.
- Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture and mix well.
- Next add the oatmeal and mix well. Then stir in raisins or chips of your choice.
- Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.