The whole house would fill with the warm yeasty smell and to this day I can't think of mom making bread without also picturing the sunlight coming through the windows and hearing her singing along to Ella Fitzgerald playing on the radio. I don't ever remember something bad happening when bread was baking in the oven.
If I was really lucky the loaves would come out of the oven, and after a little cooling time, we would have a warm slice with homemade applesauce on top. Life was golden and lovely.
It may have happened only a dozen times or so, but making my own little bun alongside my mother is still such a strong memory. There is something so comforting in cooking memories. Recipes and techniques being passed down. Stories being told as the lessons are learned. What a strange connection food and love can have.
I've been thinking about what memories my kids will have of me in the kitchen. Will they remember me being too scared to let them use the knives? Will they remember me shooing them away from the stove every five seconds? Will they remember me chasing them out of the kitchen, away from the possibility of a lesson? A story? A passion? What have I taught them? What recipes, techniques, memories will they carry with them?
Certainly they will remember making cookies with me. We've done that often enough. But so many times they ask to help, and either because of my worries, time constraints, or just my own control issues, their offers are cast aside. Another opportunity wasted.
They are more capable than I give them credit for. They are eager and willing to help and participate and bond. They ask, and I need to give.
It starts out small. We continue on with cookies. "This is your great grandma's ginger snap recipe, and it is the best!" I tell them. We count out the cups of flour and the sugar. They marvel at the thickness of the molasses and how hard the dough is to stir. They watch patiently as the cookies plump in the oven. When the cookies come out of the oven they agree that great grandma really knew what she was doing.
Later on another opportunity arises.
As I am making applesauce Tommy saunters into the kitchen and asks to help. Instead of my usual answer I tell him to wash his hands and pull up a stool. I peel and he cores. A few minutes later Ben sees us. Then Grace. Then Joey. Soon we are all lined up making applesauce. One peels, one cores, one cuts, one places the apples in the kettle. An assembly line of the happiest workers you can imagine. And, afterwards, the applesauce is the best they've ever tasted. Their applesauce.
I hope I remember that feeling of being a little girl making bread with my mom the next time one of my kids asks to help me. I hope I remember that these little things are what make up a lifetime of memories. I hope that when they get older they will each carry my recipes, my techniques, my stories with them because I was patient enough to show them.
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli