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Lily Rose

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By JACQUES KELLY | March 3, 1993
Grandmother Lily Rose had an unbreakable kitchen rule. Don't touch her white enamel saucepan that was strictly reserved for birthday cakes.This time of the year, that white vessel with the red handle saw plenty of use. In my family, January, February and March seemed to have more birthday celebrations than the rest of the year combined.Lily Rose, who was born in 1886, had a cake repertoire of chocolate, devil's food, orange, coconut, mocha, pound and birthday. You could practically tell the season by the kind of cake she was making -- orange in summer, chocolate in winter, fresh coconut when in season in winter, for example.
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NEWS
Jacques Kelly | September 24, 2011
When I reached for one of this season's final tomatoes, I got a surprise. It had bruised and was emitting white foam. In another time and place, that tomato, as injured as it was, would have gone into the stewing caldron. Bruised, soft, mushy, reject tomatoes found a welcome at our Guilford Avenue home. September was our ketchup-making month. This was a house where my grandmother and her sister made so much from scratch, from their own clothes to their laundry and kitchen soap.
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NEWS
By JACQUES KELLY | January 28, 2006
I've been engaging in some comparative economics this winter regarding the cost of heating our Baltimore homes. When I gather with friends and relatives, I pop the "How much?" question: What did it cost to keep a house warm this heating season? I had training in these conversations. As a child, I used to smile when my grandmother, Lily Rose, feigned spells when the fuel oil bill arrived. She was one of five sisters, four of whom were graduates of the old Eastern High School and proud of their diplomas.
NEWS
Jacques Kelly | January 21, 2011
The weather report for Saturday morning reminds me that this would be the perfect day for making boiled white icing for birthday cake. My sister Mimi celebrated her birthday this week, and in another 30 days, we'll be celebrating the births of my father, my sister and twin nieces. My grandmother, Lily Rose, who was born in 1886 (or so; age was never mentioned) was a fast worker in that department. She could make any task seem easy. She had mastered her craft and was confident. She was also a generous person by nature and liked nothing better than delivering the goods for a family celebration.
FEATURES
By Jacques Kelly | December 14, 1997
IF I EVER NEEDED proof that my beloved family didn't operate quite like most others in 1950s Baltimore, I got it every December when my grandmother Lily Rose made her Christmas coconut cake.Other people bought packages of dried, shredded coconut. Some zealots went farther -- they made a pilgrimage downtown to the Lexington Market, where they made much of buying a jar of fresh-grated coconut.Lily Rose, the supreme matriarch of our house, would have none of this abject laziness during her brisk December baking season.
NEWS
By JACQUES KELLY | July 1, 2006
As I think about the Fourth of July, somehow I smell vinegar and my grandmother's approach to the holiday observance. Lily Rose made potato salad. Like most of her cooking, the dish was simple, but don't ask me how she made it. All I remember is that it tasted good on the first day, better on the second - if there were any left. She was never into food styling, but the potato salad went a white bowl with bold red polka dots. Her iced tea went into a big azure bowl decorated with Concord grape leaves.
NEWS
By Jacques Kelly | January 31, 1992
The sound of a heavy window going up signaled a cold bedtime.A winter night some 40 years ago meant my large family entered the land of nod with raised windows.The tradition of sleeping in the winter air may have fallen into disfavor. But my grandmother, Lily Rose Stewart Monaghan, was determinedly old-fashioned. She dominated the 12 of us and ran the big old Guilford Avenue house pretty much the way her mother had run her big old North Broadway house.My grandmother rose each morning in the dark.
FEATURES
By Jacques Kelly | January 26, 1997
ALL TOO OFTEN at birthday parties, I encounter dreary sheet cakes coated with white stuff. Technically, it's icing, although I imagine it coming from some plastic bucket that has a green lid stamped with an expiration date.The icing is sweet, but it may as well be shaving cream or joint compound.Being hopelessly old-fashioned, and possessed of a incurable and demanding sweet tooth, I prefer to envision birthday cakes as delicious, homemade confections that joyously toast the honoree's arrival into this world.
NEWS
By JACQUES KELLY | September 23, 2006
When I drop a credit card payment in the mailbox, I think, "This was not the way I was raised, the Baltimore way: no debts, always pay cash and, if necessary, do without." When I observe a place that could use a coat of paint, I think, "Well, that's Baltimore maintenance. Stretch it out a little longer." I wonder how old-fashioned Baltimore shoppers are going to make do, now that Wal-Mart is putting an end to layaway buying. OK. Enough preaching a strict, bare-bones economy.
FEATURES
By JACQUES KELLY | August 5, 2000
MY GRANDMOTHER, Lily Rose Stewart Monaghan, never liked hot, muggy weather. I think that's one of the reasons she expired during an August heat blast precisely 30 years ago. I can't remember her age. She guarded her birth date. Let's just say she was born on Aisquith Street in the 1880s, moved to Broadway in the 1890s and to Guilford Avenue in 1915. That's where she died in 1970. Like many non-mobile Baltimoreans, she lived in but two postal zones during her 80-some years. What trips out of town she did make, she didn't like much.
NEWS
By JACQUES KELLY | November 21, 2009
My mother endorsed Thanksgiving because she felt it was an unemotional holiday. It didn't carry all the past associations and mental baggage of other feasts. It was just pleasant to gather around a table for an afternoon on what is usually a gentle Baltimore Thursday. While walking south along Charles Street this week, I lapsed into a Thanksgiving mood, coaxed by the scent of wood burning. I glanced around and saw some smoke escaping the stone chimneys of the old Maryland Club.
NEWS
By JACQUES KELLY | January 5, 2008
I can just imagine my Uncle Jacques during World War II. He was in the Navy on a ship in the North Atlantic and thinking about returning to the old family home on Guilford Avenue. In a letter my family saved, he mentioned how he's saving his money so that he can junk the old coal furnace and install a new oil-fired boiler. I often reread this letter, written in his precise handwriting, worthy of a graduate of Polytechnic Institute and the old Mount Washington Country School for Boys.
NEWS
By JACQUES KELLY | September 23, 2006
When I drop a credit card payment in the mailbox, I think, "This was not the way I was raised, the Baltimore way: no debts, always pay cash and, if necessary, do without." When I observe a place that could use a coat of paint, I think, "Well, that's Baltimore maintenance. Stretch it out a little longer." I wonder how old-fashioned Baltimore shoppers are going to make do, now that Wal-Mart is putting an end to layaway buying. OK. Enough preaching a strict, bare-bones economy.
NEWS
By JACQUES KELLY | July 1, 2006
As I think about the Fourth of July, somehow I smell vinegar and my grandmother's approach to the holiday observance. Lily Rose made potato salad. Like most of her cooking, the dish was simple, but don't ask me how she made it. All I remember is that it tasted good on the first day, better on the second - if there were any left. She was never into food styling, but the potato salad went a white bowl with bold red polka dots. Her iced tea went into a big azure bowl decorated with Concord grape leaves.
NEWS
By JACQUES KELLY | January 28, 2006
I've been engaging in some comparative economics this winter regarding the cost of heating our Baltimore homes. When I gather with friends and relatives, I pop the "How much?" question: What did it cost to keep a house warm this heating season? I had training in these conversations. As a child, I used to smile when my grandmother, Lily Rose, feigned spells when the fuel oil bill arrived. She was one of five sisters, four of whom were graduates of the old Eastern High School and proud of their diplomas.
NEWS
By JACQUES KELLY | November 12, 2005
The other night I gave three short doorbell blasts at my old family Guilford Avenue home. Soon my two twin nieces, Mary and Katie, were working the locks to admit their uncle, whom they informed was late for dinner. I was. I had missed a bus. My sister Ann ushered me into the kitchen and offered a chair at the table. As she put it, it was Pop's chair, meaning the seat and place normally reserved for my grandfather, Edward Jacques Monaghan Sr., who died in 1963. After all these years, it's still Pop's chair, except for the days when Father Al Mack, a Jesuit priest, occasionally visited and took the honored seat.
NEWS
By Jacques Kelly | February 28, 1992
Mayor Kurt Schmoke's recent entreaty to start recycling garbage and refuse got me thinking. Was what he proposed really anything new?As a child, we returned soft-drink bottles for 2 cents each. The milk man took back the empty glass jugs. Used paper envelopes became scrap paper. And animal fat never went into the ash can.My thrifty grandmother saved grease and fats for the scrubbing soap she made. In the 1950s, not too many Baltimoreans made their own soap. But she deliberately clung to the ways of her mother and ran a decidedly old-fashioned household.
FEATURES
By JACQUES KELLY | November 29, 2003
NOW THAT WE are officially off and running in the 2003 holiday season, I'd like to inject a note of caution. As we all gather, I'd think about not overdoing it, going crazy, getting tied up in emotional knots while trying to create an ideal celebration. I'll never forget how blue my grandmother Lily Rose grew one Thanksgiving morning. An early riser, she had made her boiled cranberry sauce and poured it into a cut-glass bowl her mother received as a wedding gift in 1880. As the heated berries touched the cold, untempered glass, the whole thing shattered.
FEATURES
By JACQUES KELLY | October 23, 2004
I GOT MY education in election-year politics around the kitchen table at the old house on Guilford Avenue. It was a place where I heard everything from talk about the greatness of Herbert Hoover (no lie) to the morning-after uncertainties of the Kennedy-Nixon contest of 1960. I'll never forget coming down that November day and studying the early results published in this newspaper with my grandmother. At 7 in the morning, we didn't know if it would be Kennedy or Nixon. One thing I did learn from my elders' generation.
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