Place item was collected
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
Leica Merriam (pronounced Lisa) is my mom. She was born and raised in Menlo Park, California. She moved to Utah in her mid-twenties to attend Brigham Young University and then later attended the U. She and her husband, John, have been married for 28 years. Leica is a proud mother of six children, three boy and three girls. She also has two grand-daughters that she spoils rotten. She enjoys spending time with her children and her husband and always enjoys reading a good book. Leica is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
I interviewed Leica on a couch in the basement of her home, during the commercials of a Hallmark TV show. We were both sitting on the couch, half facing each other and half facing outward. The feeling was very relaxed because we were both comfortable and we talk about basically everything together anyways. There were a few other family members in the room during the interview, but there wasn’t any noise in the background. Grandma Lyle’s Dessert is classic and simple dessert that tastes delicious. It is mainly made during the holiday season, which means it is made when you are with family. The recipe to this dessert was given to Leica’s Grandma by a friend, and then her Grandma gave it to Leica’s mom. It is typically made for Thanksgiving and Christmas because it has more of a festive look to it, plus it makes it that much more special when you only get it once or twice a year!
Well we have this classic family dessert that everybody loves, and we call it Grandma Lyle’s Dessert, and I thought originally that she’d made it since my mom, Nana [that’s what we called her] was little girl but it turns out it was when she was older and may have even already been married, and a really good friend, worked at the Manti Temple and she came home with this recipe and called my grandma and said ‘I’ve got this fabulous recipe you have to try it’ [tone didn’t change when she said this]. And so she made it fell in love with it immediately called my mom and gave it to her and then they’ve been making it every since. And it’s a layer of crust at the bottom kind of a butter/flour crust and nuts and then, a layer of a whipped cream cheese and dream whip, and then a layer of red Danish dessert with either strawberries or raspberries on the top so it’s very, um festive looking and so it’s very popular at, um, Thanksgiving and Christmas and so that’s when we make it the most often is for those holidays and you put that you put a piece of Grandma Lyle’s Dessert on a plate and little sprig of fresh mint and it just doesn’t get any prettier than that, and super delicious and one other fun thing about Grandma Lyle’s Dessert is that, Grandpa Errol, Grandma Lyle’s husband was a big jokester and he loved to joke around and he, um well they were bring Grandma Lyle’s Dessert to my Uncle Allen’s house when his kids were little, and it was either Thanksgiving or Christmas and they showed up and they were carrying the, dish in [the dish had the dessert on it] and my little cousins were like ‘what is that? What is that? Is that your dessert?’ [said in a higher pitched voice] and heeee Grandpa Errol said ‘No! It’s frog legs!’ [said with more enthusiasm] and so from then on their nickname in that family in Uncle Allen’s family for Grandma Lyle’s Dessert was frog legs, but we never really like caught onto that nickname we always just called it the classic Grandma Lyle’s Dessert.
My mom told me about this recipe in a way that made it seem like it was just an everyday conversation I have with her. While she was talking to me, she didn’t always look at me, but would mostly look up at the wall or down at the floor. She didn’t have a lot of body movement during the interview and her facial expressions were the same as when we talk about any other topic. Making this recipe for either Thanksgiving or Christmas was something that happened almost every time in her family growing up and was always sad when it wasn’t made. In the last few years, Leica’s immediate family has only made it a handful of times, compared to when her children were younger. The holiday that it was often made for was Thanksgiving.
Dr. Lynne S. McNeil
Semester and year
Jorgensen, Eliza, "Grandma Lyle's Dessert" (2018). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 527.
Additional FilesGrandma Lyle's Recipe.jpg (1095 kB)