Grandma Leonia’s Orange Bread Recipe

Grandma Leonia’s Orange Bread Recipe

This week I want to go back in time. Back to my pink bedroom with pink curtains and my white chenille bedspread. I want to go back to my Holly Hobby nightgown and homemade, knitted slippers that hurt my feet when I tried to walk in them. I’d even be willing to wear this hairdo again if I had to.

I want to go back to the time when I was about six years old and my younger siblings and I were playing house in my huge closet. Because, you know, when you place a lamp in a closet it becomes a home. My sister once walked in happily declaring, “I’m home!” and closed the self-locking closet door behind herself. Our real mommy was at work that day and our real daddy was outside mowing the huge lawn and couldn’t hear our pounding and screaming and crying as we sat locked in the closet for three days. Okay, maybe it was more like 20 minutes but it felt like three days. Besides lamps weren’t meant for closets and it was hot in there. Finally, we heard him running up the stairs in a panic to see what had happened to us all. As he opened the closet door, three sweaty, sobbing children fell out and into his arms. We had already decided we were never going to see our parents again so his hugs brought us great relief.

If I could go back to the time when fresh-cut grass was the greatest smell on the planet. If I could go back to the day daddy taught me how to ride a bike. If I could go back to when a night out meant we were going to Dairy Queen to get Dilly Bars when they still had swirls in the middle, I would. I would go back in a heartbeat because, at the end of every day, my mom and dad were always there. Yesterday I learned that the battle my dad has been having with cancer is one that is almost over. He has about 6 months to live.

This stuff only happens in the movies – not to my real daddy. Last night I couldn’t sleep because sleeping meant one day was done and the clock would start ticking. I tried to control time by staying awake. I am grateful the loss is not sudden but I am incredibly shaken. I am once again the scared little girl with the hot lamp of truth making me feel trapped and alone.

How does one even process this? One doesn’t. One forgets to call the right people. One wants loved ones to visit and doesn’t want loved ones to visit. One now feels bad for oneself and everyone who has lost someone dear to them. One realizes that the casseroles one has delivered to friends through the years who had experienced loss meant so much but how could they ever be enough?

One is lost. One writes. One writes to share a favorite recipe from her dad’s mom. And she hopes it blesses someone. Anyone.


3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup non-fat milk
2 eggs
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 medium-sized oranges – peel only

To prepare orange peel:

Take the peeling from 2 medium-sized oranges and cut into small pieces, add water and boil 20 min.

Drain and add more water and boil again for 20 minutes.

Drain, add 1 C sugar and only a little water and boil another 20 minutes.

Store candied orange peel in the refrigerator, covered.

To make bread:

Combine flour, 1 C sugar, milk, eggs, baking powder, salt and candied orange peel.

Let stand in a prepared bread pan for 20 minutes (floured).

Bake at 350F for 45 minutes.

Makes 2 loaves. Share with loved ones. Savour each bite. Make them last.


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