One thing I really love about the holidays is baking. As a young girl, my Scottish grandmother made a special trip to teach me how to make the family shortbread and scone recipes. I loved having my hands in the dough, rolling and shaping and watching them puff up in the oven. And of course, a buttery shortbread or warm scone with jam is truly delicious.
Every holiday, I get to bake up all of my favorites. Shortbread. Cherry Cake. Chocolate Kringles. All the recipes for these treats come from my Grandmother Gallacher and my Gram Smith.
Both of these women were exceptional bakers. I was honored to learn from them and go on to learn more in college nutrition and foods classes. Cooking and baking is another way to be creative and I think both my grandmothers felt the same way. My Gram was especially wonderful not just in the kitchen where her sauces were legend but in my life where she brought light and warmth and love. When I get out the recipes that I copied from their files, or when I find one in Gram's own handwriting, I'm transported back to that time when I could look up and see her there smiling at me.
When I make her cheese sauce from scratch for pasta or a lamb chop with broccoli, baked potatoe and sour cream, I feel safe and comforted and loved. Everytime. Baking her chocolate kringles with their snowy dusting of powdered sugar, I still remember her telling me not to over bake them or they'll get dry.
She was right. About so many things...she knew my boyfriend was going to be my husband before I did. She told me he was a very kind man and she'd only just met him. She loved seeing me wear bright colors and encouraged me to be bold. She used to have me drive her around in her big Buick and had me use her apartment for a whole month so I'd see I could move out on my own and be ok.
Every holiday, it isn't just the baking I look forward to, it's the recipes and loving memories.
And that's a very special treat for the holidays.