Chef’s Special

Many people believe good cooking is a matter of instinct, and Stephanie Sacca can offer proof.

Sacca says her grandmother, Emma Bernabeo, was completely blind, yet she was the finest chef she’s ever known.

"My blind grandmother was the best cook and baker," she says. "With no sight, she turned out the best cakes and dinners I ever tasted."

One of Sacca’s favorite desserts is her grandma’s peach cake — a simple, light concoction that can be made more "holiday-ish" by adding frosting.

Although Sacca loves to cook, she admits she doesn’t prepare her grandmother’s recipes as much as she used to because while the dishes are delicious, they’re not exactly health-conscious.

Yet every once in a while, she cooks a special meal from the "Grandmom copybook." Before Sacca’s grandmother passed away almost 20 years ago, Sacca was the only one in her family to have the foresight to write down all her recipes. She says she would visit her grandmother and watch her cook, documenting everything neatly in a black and white copybook that she still uses today.

Sacca says relatives still call her when they want a taste of Grandma Bernabeo’s cooking, and she’s happy to oblige them, especially her two grown sons. She figures it’s her way of keeping her grandmother’s memory alive.

Now if we could only get our hands on that copybook …

Grandmom Emma’s Peach Cake


1-1/2 cups flour
1 egg
1/4 pound softened butter
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Sugar, enough to coat pan
Cinnamon, to taste
1/2 cup milk
1 large can peaches


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Grease a 9-inch round baking pan. Drain peaches and cover the bottom of the baking pan with them. (You might not use the entire can.) Dot with sugar and cinnamon.

Mix together flour, egg, butter, baking powder, salt, 1/4 cup sugar and milk and pour on top of peaches.

Bake for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let cool for at least 10 minutes before taking out of the pan.

Slice of peach heaven