To explain our Aunt Ethel to you I need to go back to the beginning. She was my grandmother’s sister, but since she was the next to last of ten children and my grandmother was the first, she was closer in age to my mother. They grew up best friends and were even roommates in college. She was very timid and looked up to my mother because she would have liked to have been more like her. Auntie was very smart and achieved high marks in school. She became a school teacher like mother. She also had talents in cooking and her patience made her an extremely good seamstress. Where our mother enjoyed teaching more and continued her own education for fun, Aunt Ethel was happy to help run the house and take care of her nieces and nephews. She taught in a different state but was able to come stay with us during holidays and summer vacations. We were like the Brady Bunch with our own Alice, except her name was Aunt Ethel. We’d keep record of who got to sleep with her or got to sit next to her at the table. Our hobbies became her hobbies. It was wonderful. We were lucky she never married and told ourselves she was better off with us than any man!! So later when we got married and had children of our own the wonderful relationship we had with her continued. I hadn’t been married very long when she came to stay with me one week-end. My husband’s family was having a reunion and to help me my Auntie made her sumptuous chicken lasagna and prune cake. She was very famous for that at her church and I knew it would be a hit. The family reunion was being held at a public park where several covered picnic areas were so when we arrived a little late my husband dropped us off while he went to park the car. We each carried a dish and set it down on the table with the other food. Everyone was being very friendly and since I was new to the family I didn’t recognize anyone. They were praising our food and we were bragging about theirs. When out of the corner of my eye I saw my husband waving his arms franticly and I could see he was saying something softly so I moved closer. He said we were at the wrong family reunion!! What? So my aunt and I had to put our plates of food down and sheepishly pick up our lasagna and cake and join my husband at the right reunion!! Aunt Ethel’s Prune Cake Recipe– straight from the Good Shepherd United Methodist Church’s cook book in Circleville, Ohio in 1980 2 C each sugar and flour 1 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp each cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon & soda 1/2 tsp salt 1 C oil 3 eggs 1 C cooked, diced prunes 1 C buttermilk 1 C chopped nuts 1 tsp vanilla Combine oil and eggs. Add prunes and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients together and add alternately with buttermilk to oil and egg mixture. Beat thoroughly after each addition. Pour into greased tube pan and bake for 1 hour or until done. Preheat oven to 325 to 350 degrees F.
Aunt Ethel’s simple Chicken Lasagna 8 oz lasagna noodles, cooked 3 C diced cooked chicken Mushroom Sauce: combine until smooth— 1/2 C each, chopped onion and green pepper 1 (6oz) can sliced mushrooms, drained 1/4 C chopped pimento 1 can cream of chicken soup 1/3 C milk and 1/2 tsp basil 1 1/2 C cream style cottage cheese 2 C shredded process cheese 1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese Place half the noodles in a 13x9x2 baking dish. Cover with each of the sauce, cottage cheese, chicken and cheeses. Repeat layers. Bake 350 degrees for 1 hour. Makes 8-10 servings.