I know it’s not “cool” to be a “homemaker” in this day and age, but the women who’ve gone before me who were moms, wives, chief cook and bottle washers have my greatest respect. No more so than this time of year, as I’m reminded of how hard that job can be!
I go through my recipe cards each holiday season. I have cards with handwriting that is now familiar, and grows more cherished as time goes by. My mom. My grandmother. My great grandmother. My mother-in-law. Aunts. Friends of mine, and family members. Some of these cards are stained and worn, others are pristine, but still precious. They are all pathways to delicious!
What a gift these women have left for me. And the memories. The process of making their recipes reminds me of watching these women, from the time I was little, as they worked on holidays. (Have you ever tried to lift a 20+ pound turkey out of a hot oven?! It's work!) And as I mimic their actions, the scents of all those familiar dishes waft through the house. More memories return.
And they didn’t just do this once or twice a year, like I do. They did this day in and day out. Large families to feed. Hired hands on the farms, as well as gatherings for the neighborhood and church. Weddings and funerals back in the day weren’t catered. The guests were fed by the ladies clubs and women’s groups. By family.
They worked hard. And I’m exhausted just getting my modern-day house cleaned and grocery-store-bought food prepared. (I don’t even want to think about my grandmother who raised/grew and prepared the food that went on her table!) I’ve heard about plucking feathers—and buckshot—out of soon-to-be dinner. Yeah, pushing that shopping cart is much less work.
These thoughts seem even stronger this year, as I’m facing the deadline for my next book in the Chair at the Hawkins Table series. I’m telling Tara’s story this time. She’s the youngest of the clan, and is just starting out as a chef.
She learned to cook at her mother’s elbow, and now that her mom is gone, she misses her mother’s guidance. When her sister, Addie finds the recipe cards of their family, it’s like getting a piece of her mom back. I’ve been enjoying writing this book, and look forward to what those cards reveal to her. And about her.
Over on the Super Romance Facebook page this week, several authors shared their favorite recipes for the holiday. Hopefully, you’ll pop on over there, after you’re finished here, and check them out. And, please share something of yours. I’ve already copied some of those to add to my collection of cherished recipes.
Here’s one that I’m going to try again this year. (I usually screw it up, but I love this stuff!) Grandma’s gone, but just seeing her handwriting—and her special instructions for me—makes me feel like she’s here for a short visit.
|Hilma Strong's Yummy Toffee!|
Thank you to all the women out there who make our holidays so very special and warm.