I have been raised with wonderful role models. My mom and grandmothers have instilled so much wisdom upon me and are truly three of the most influential, strong, beautiful and intelligent women I have ever met.
While I have spent numerous hours in the kitchen with each of them I feel that there are a few events that stand out and are always a reminder of the time we have spent together.
Growing up my mom and I had a tradition of making Christmas cookies. Two weeks off of school meant that at least a few of those days would be spent at home baking up to 12 different types of cookies with my mom. When I was too little to sit at the kitchen table my mom would set up my little fisher price table so that we could bake together. While the cookies would sometimes change from year to year there were a few recipes that made it onto our list year after year: M&M cookies, Peanut Butter Blossoms, Buckeyes, Crescent Cookies and Reese's Bars.
My mom always served us healthy meals and encouraged moderation but her philosophy, and one that sticks with me to this day, is that we all deserve a treat and so Christmas cookies should be made with real butter and sugar and eggs and all of the things that make them taste extra special.
I will always remember this time with my mom as extra special mother daughter time. Year after year, the main recipes never change and each Christmas when our whole family is together and the cookie plate comes out I am reminiscent of those days.
My Grandma Lillian
My grandma Lillian holds the title for the most time with me in the kitchen. Since her and my grandpa took care of us once a week we spent a lot of time together. Like most grandmas she would cater to activities that most interested me which was no surprise cooking and baking. Grandma Lillian has always been an excellent cook and holds more skills than I could ever hope to acquire. To choose one particular recipe would be difficult so instead I am choosing an experience.
My family has always been very close. We have a small family, my dad is an only child and my mom has one sister so we get together as a group as often as possible. In addition to "big" family parties which happen about once a month we get together with my grandma Lillian on a weekly basis. One particular weekend in the Fall of 2009 my grandma came to stay with my brother and I, something that we did every few months when our parents were out of town.
It was a beautiful fall weekend. The weather was still nice so I decided to take my grandma to see a movie in a theater, something that she hadn't done in years. We saw Julie and Julia, the perfect movie for two people who truly enjoy the art of cooking! After the movie we swung by the grocery store and picked up all the fixins' to make a roast chicken dinner, something that I had never made but figured with my grandma's help we could have a nice dinner. We spent the evening chatting about the movie, discussing the recipes that they made and talking about Julia Child all while my Grandma instructed me on making the perfect roasted chicken. When my brother got home we had a nice dinner and all enjoyed the meal that wouldn't have been possible without my grandmothers influence. After all of the nice sit-down family dinners that we enjoyed over the years prepared by my grandma it was nice to be able to make one for her.
My Grandma Vera
When I was in the second grade we read Thunder Cake, the story of a little girl and her grandmother who baked their way through a thunderstorm to help the little girl not be scared. This story had a lot of significance to it and I was excited to share it with my grandma Vera at our next visit.
Grandmother's are known to do anything in their power to make their grandchildren happy and helping them through what could be a scary situation is no exception. Grandma Vera was always there for me when I needed her. She bought me my first pair of red coyboy boots (I think that I wore those things every day for months straight!), introduced me to new books (Ramona and Bezus anyone?) and most importantly was always able to help me through any situation including helping my grandpa pack and unpack their car 3 times while I was trying to decide if I wanted to spend a weekend away from my parents with them when I was 5.
In the Thunder Cake the grandmother tries to distract her granddaughter with the project of baking a special cake so that she is not scared by the approaching storm. The two gather all of the ingredients including a secret ingredient (one that now looking back on as a Dietitian I am quite pleased with!).
I remember reading this book with my grandma and then together we baked a thunder cake. Reading the book and baking the cake is an experience that I will always remember. Have you read the book? Do you know what the secret ingredient was? Thunder Cake Recipe
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!