For as long as i can remember, i've loved looking at cookbooks. I'm not sure why, but i am willing to bet that it came from spending time in the kitchen with my parents. My Mom was an amazing cook and my Dad did a lot of the baking and it seemed that i always gravitated to the kitchen either to watch or taste. Many, many hours were spent in the kitchen...my parent's cooking, bickering, tasting and me, sitting at the table, looking though cookbooks. Of course, the cookbooks with photos were my favorite....one day, i promised myself, one day, i'll bake things that look just as good.
I'm still trying on that, btw...
The holidays were signaled as beginning when i watched my father make Nut Rolls from a recipe that had been handed down from my Grandma in early November. He would make many Nut Rolls and give them as gifts to friends. Those Nut Rolls came to be known as "Grandma's Nut Rolls" even though the recipe was first found in a newspaper food section many years ago. My Grandma had played with the recipe a little, tweaking it here or there, to suit her taste. Pecans were put in place of the walnuts, a little sugar was added, a topping was created for them....each tweak she created just made those Nut Rolls even better. I looked forward to Thanksgiving because i knew that my Dad would start baking; i loved those Nut Rolls.
After my Grandma passed away, i was lucky enough to get a book of her's. In the book is some family info, birth dates, dates of deaths in our family, addresses of friends and family, newspaper clippings, and other odds and ends scribbled in her handwriting. I had to smile as i looked through all of the stuff in Grandma's book; for years, i've done the same thing. I had journals that i would write in, put clippings in, and just stuff i wanted to remember. Although i still have journals, my recipes are now kept in a large three-ring binder with sheet protectors and not in blank books like my grandma and i use to use. While i do love my big ol' binder of recipes, i find myself longing for those plain, black books that my Grandmas use to use.
As i flipped though Grandma's book, i found the 'original newspaper clipping' of the recipe for Grandma's Nut Roll. While i was thrilled about finding that newspaper clipping, what made me especially happy was her 'tweaked' recipe written in her handwriting with notes scribbled on the sides of the recipe. Written in her fancy handwriting was my favorite recipe, almost like a gift. I am most like my Grandma than anyone in our family; i was named after her and i was her first grandchild. I have her personality, her love of plants, trees and flowers, her rotten eyesight, her love of what is going on in the world, her poor eye sight and her love of baking. She and i always had a very strong connection with each other. To now have this recipe made me feel as if i was four years old again, standing on a chair in the kitchen with her, rolling out "my" dough as she was rolling out hers. I still remember watching her, trying to put my little hands on the rollers just like she had her's. Grandma would always let me "cook" with her...i was her "Annie". No one else in my family ever called me "Annie" but Grandma....i miss hearing her call me that name.
There is something about a recipe that is written in someone's handwriting. Especially if the handwriting is of someone you loved dearly growing up. It somehow brings you closer to them...i can't tell you how much i cherish that worn piece of paper in her handwriting. Now a days, i usually print the recipes i use from the computer because, well, it's easier, neater and quicker. I do think, however, that i'm going to hand write some of my favorite recipes that i've played with. Yes, i'm sure that i'll curse at myself for deciding to do this, but i'll remind myself why i'm doing this. I want to pass on those recipes that i use and the memories that go with them. Emma already loves to 'help' stirring and she will drag her little pink stool to where i am to help me. She's learning how to measure, pour and taste, although i will say i think that the tasting part is her favorite. How i wish that my Mom and my Grandma were in the kitchen with us....
...but you know, in my heart, i know that they both are, watching and smiling that i'm trying to teach Emma like they both taught me so many years ago. I hope that Emma will love to bake or cook and i hope that she will one day cherish handwritten recipes, too. In those handwritten recipes are the many, many memories that tie us to each other. No matter what went on, those special recipes brought us together.
This year, i'm going to try my hand at making Nut Rolls. Oh, i've helped many, many times, but i've never made them on my own. The making of the dough makes me a little nervous and the rolling of the Nut Roll makes me break out in a cold sweat. It's been a few years since i've had those amazing Grandma Nut Rolls so, it's up to me to try to make them.
Besides, i won't be alone in the kitchen, you know....Grandma will be watching over me and my little helper.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
♡ Scribbled by ~Isabel at 8:06 PM