Baking like Grandma

I was fortunate to grow up with both of my grandmothers alive during my childhood, and enjoyed diverse cooking between the two of them (Italian and Jewish). And while they both made amazing dinners, especially for the holidays, my Jewish grandmother was favored more by my sister and I as a baker. Anytime you walked into her home, you’d know to go straight to the kitchen to see what was newly baked and sitting on the table waiting to be devoured. Of all the sweets she baked, I think her lemon iced lemon cake was by far my absolute favorite. And it’s likely why I have a penchant for it til’ this day. But aside from the smell of bread or cake baking, there was always another familiar scent that occupied her kitchen. I never knew what exactly it was and just associated it with the baking process.

When my grandmother passed away a few years ago, my family made sure one of the things we didn’t discard was the tool she possessed for over 50 years which helped bring her creations to life – a chrome Sunbeam Model 11 Mixmaster.

Sunbeam Model 11 Mixmaster - 1956

It sat undisturbed somewhere, packed away for a few years, complete with the glass bowls it came with it. I can’t recall if it was used since my grandmother’s passing prior to this Christmas but the minute I turned it on, that familiar smell buried deep in my brain woke up. It was then I realized that the scent which accompanied all of her baking came from the mixer. This model mixer, manufactured in 1955/56, still functions perfectly after all these years. I was able to make a cake with it, and while I did I admired this machine as it churned away, thinking about the hundreds of desserts my grandmother lovingly made for her family. I think the motor needs a replacement as it gets pretty hot on the higher speeds, but until it completely conks out I continue using it and thinking of the woman to whom it once belonged.


I’m a registered trademark

My last name, Maganza, is not a very common one.  The name originated in Italy, Sicily, I believe, so naturally, it’s much more prevalent there. Here – not as much. Through my brief, less-than extensive, genealogy search, I have made the assumption (be it correct or not), that all Maganzas in the U.S. are related.

So, I was really surprised when I came across a website offering a product that not only has my surname, but is also extremely closely related to my profession (digital art director). Maganza Digital Publishing Solutions is designed by a German-based company called Onlinelib, and is composed of 3 elements: Maganza InDesign Plugins, Maganza Art Director (my personal fav) and Maganza iPad Reader.

I’m aware of there being Italian artists with the name Maganza (Alessandro Maganza [deceased] and Adrian Maganza) – perhaps it was inspired by one of them. Either way, I thought it was cool seeing my name that big on a website (other than my own).