Me: Which cookbook is the recipe in?
Grandpa: [hesitates. . . then very clearly] Yes, you may have the recipe.
Me: [confused] But what cookbook is it in?
Grandpa: [shakes his head and smiles] This always happens!
Of all the cookbooks in Grandma Hazel’s old collection, this unfortunately titled one, “Yes, you may have the recipe,” is the most marked-up and well-use. This cute little cookbook was self-published by Chicago author Maria Baker in 1981, and Grandma had the third printing which came out in 1983. At that time my Grandma and Grandpa were living in the Chicago area, so Grandma must have bumped into it somewhere locally and started cooking from it regularly.
Lemon bars are a classic American sweet which became popular in the 1970’s. With a crumbly shortbread cookie crust and a tangy, rich lemon topping, they’re especially popular for Easter and Mother’s Day celebrations (although they’re so delicious and easy, you can bake them year-round). Some variations have you make a lemon topping that’s a custard or a curd, but I think Grandma Hazel’s version is the most pure and simple style of lemon bar – it doesn’t use cream or butter, just egg, sugar, flour, baking powder and lemon juice.