Several readers have asked me to explain the reference to Tutti-Frutti in Dead Behind The Eyes. It’s an old-fashioned dessert from my grandmother and a favorite at my house. I don’t care for it but I love preparing it.


Here’s why:


  • It is written in Grandma Loseke’s hand. I am the keeper of grandma’s recipe box – all handwritten gems. Many of them list the ingredients but don’t instruct what to do with them. Grandma just instinctively knew so now it’s up to me to figure out.
  • If the recipe came from a friend, grandma noted it: Mrs. Becker’s Mince Meat Cookies, Mrs. Guettler’s Spice Cake – rarely using first names.
  • Can sizes were identified by number rather than ounces as in Number 2, Number 303, etc. Tutti-Frutti calls for a number 2 can of fruit cocktail which is 2 ½ cups or 20 ounces.
  • Whenever I come across an old letter I can feel the writer’s presence. Handwriting has a certain energy. I regret every handwritten letter I have ever thrown away – no matter how seemingly insignificant.


I may not care for this dessert but I sure enjoy spending time in the kitchen with my grandmother, again.


Tuttie Fruite (that’s how grandma spelled it) Dessert



1 cup sugar

1 cup flour

1 egg

1 tsp. baking soda

pinch of salt


Drain a Number 2 (20 ounce) can of fruit cocktail. Beat an egg and add to the fruit.

Stir all together and put in a greased 8 inch pan.



Combine: ½ cup sugar and ½ cup nuts. Sprinkle over top.


Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Serve with whipped cream.