I was thinking about Traditions the other day and realized how many ‘traditions’ actually revolve around food. No wonder we in North America have such issues with weight, or unhealthy eating habits. And I, of course, followed along.
I never considered myself a great baker, but my daughter on the other hand is an awesome baker.
As time went on I did find I enjoyed it and got better, but like my mom, it was more so later in life. I think with the busyness of kids and working (for both mom and I), baking just went by the wayside. It was more important to get a meal on the table. Of course I baked the traditional cookies and birthday cakes. Many, many shape cakes of a rocking horse, an elephant, Barbie, a semi, Darth Vader, Mickey Mouse, a reindeer, Jar Jar Binks. You can guess by some of the cake names who asked for what cake. My kids always loved chocolate cake. Curtis is not a big fan of chocolate, but he did like chocolate cake.
Growing up, my mom always made an angel food cake for birthdays, with seafoam frosting, or white mountain frosting. Remember those? Now I like angel food, but it never was my favourite. (Sorry Mom). I always found it hard to cut with a fork and chewy. Then enters the days of ‘Bake Sales’. Usually if I needed something for a bake sale, first mom would look at me and say, “And you need this tomorrow?” Oops, my bad. And out would come my mom’s Dream Bars recipe. I hated dream bars. My baking I brought to school was always the last to be sold. (Sorry Mom…again.) But thankfully, I had an older sister, so when she was able to Colleen would make fudge or brownies. That’s what every kid wanted to bring to a bake sale, fudge or brownies. I love chocolate…it’s 2nd only to coffee in my life. Somewhere before or after my husband and kids. 😊
I remember one visit to Grandma’s she made a chocolate cake and iced it with chocolate icing! I was ecstatic! We never had a chocolate cake. After dinner, we got our dessert, and Grandma then proceeded to pour cream on top! “WAIT….What is happening?????” My little mind was saying. I just went with it, for fear she would take my precious chocolate cake away. Grandma insisted it was very good with it. I doubted that, but I mustered on. The ‘cream’, by the way, was Carnation Evaporated Milk. Yuck. While Grandpa and Grandma did have real cream earlier in life, they no longer had a milk cow, so had taken to buying this instead. I took a bite and this horrible, awful taste filled my mouth….it wasn’t the cream though, no, no, no, I knew what that cream should taste like because she put it on our Grape Nuts cereal when we stayed (double yuck)…but this, this, was mint. Mint! Who ices a chocolate cake with mint-flavoured chocolate icing????? My grandma. While I do understand that adults like mint, and I do myself…now…but as a child? No, no, no, no, no! I was heartbroken, devasted…but not being a quitter, and always being taught it is rude to say, “I don’t like this”, I finished my cake. I was very cautious if a chocolate cake was on the menu at Grandma’s after that.
When my kids were growing up, we had a tradition, well many actually, but at Christmas we always made sugar cookies. I would make a very large batch of dough, divide it into three, and set up three different cutting stations – one for each of my kids. Then, having gotten out the cutters, and the rollers, and the sugar sprinkles, I basically just stood back and let them have -at- it. My jobs were to run as a go-between as the cutters and rolling pins had to be shared. The only thing I was allowed to help with was scooping the cookies off the counter and onto the baking sheet. And…not to comment on the amount of flour and dough landing on my floor. On one occasion, Curtis, then, about 8, was busy rolling out his dough when his arm, accidentally knocked the ice cream bucket…full of flour…off the counter and onto the floor, upside-down. A cloud of flour-dust rose from the floor. Curtis, his eyes wide, just looked at me, holding his breath. I’m sure he was thinking, “Uh oh! Now what?” I looked at his cute little face, and the floor and all I could do was laugh. A sigh of relief escaped from Curtis when he realized he wasn’t in trouble. To this day, he loves telling that story, and always ends with, “And mom, you didn’t even get mad!”
Both Bethany and Curtis worked at the local restaurant in town; Bethany waitressing and Curtis as Prep Cook. He learned a few tricks and is a good cook today; all my kids are actually.
When the kids got older we still made sugar cookies, and for the most part everyone helped. Even when Corey was in Grade 12, he and Bethany made sugar cookies. (Curtis had moved farther away then.) Now on these occasions Corey’s sugar cookies were not just cute little angels or bells, or trees or something…Christmas-y. No, he took the Pillsbury Dough Boy cutter, or the Gingerbread Man cutter, and proceeded to make an army. A army of Zombies. Completed with red icing wounds. OH MY DOG! What have I created.
When they made a gingerbread house, Corey decided it should have a dinosaur on it attacking an unsuspecting gingerbread man. Did I mention this was during his 1st year of University? This was in his 1st year of University. 🙂
I still enjoy making sugar cookies with Bethany. Ours have grown to be a little bit more elaborate than childhood days. Due to her baking and decorating ability, and she’s patient when teaching me.
I hope you have Traditions in your family; whatever they may be, they form a bond and good memories to pass down…I wonder what kind of traditions Corey will carry on with his kids? 😉
‘Just A Little Something’ I wanted to pass along.