There isn’t much in life that we remember more than the smell of baked goods. Think about walking into your grandmother’s home during the holidays. The smell takes over the air.
My grandmothers always had some sort of goodies waiting for us when we entered their homes. For me, baking during the holidays with my mom was a huge part of my life. Baking wasn’t just about the food. It was more about the memories made as we laughed and threw things in the oven.
My mom didn’t like to put me in charge of the tough things. She usually stuck me with chocolate-covered pretzels or easy-bake cookies. She didn’t trust me very much. She was in charge of the pralines and tough cakes. I loved to make a mess, too. My mom passed away when I was 19, but I remember our last Christmas together she helped me make some of that tough stuff. Those memories are some of the most special times with my mother.
Memories of My Mom
We made cookies from scratch. She loved to walk into a room with a plate of cookies. It didn’t matter if it was holiday time. We poured out the flour together. After it was mixed with water, I loved to pat it, making it fluff into the air. I ended up with flour all over my apron and my clothing.
Those cookies didn’t stand a chance, but my mom knew it was more about making memories. Her cookies were always these perfect little creatures, while mine looked like aliens. As long as they tasted good, that’s all that mattered to us.
We shared stories as we baked in the kitchen. We didn’t just make those cookies. We whipped up those pralines, chocolate covered pretzels, divinity, and fresh fudge. She told me all about cooking with her mom and grandmother growing up.
We had the best laugh because my dad’s mom was the worst cook in the world. She only knew “off” and “burn” on her oven. We didn’t look forward to her pie at Christmas. My mom’s mom taught her to make the best red velvet cake in the world. We knew these desserts were way too many for our little family, but we didn’t care. We would probably end up sharing them with the entire neighborhood.
Our cookies came out of the oven, fluffy and ready to eat. They were perfectly buttery on the outside with a soft center. We made homemade icing for the top. Of course, mine were thrown together. The decorations on top of each cookie didn’t look artistic at all. My mom was able to make all sorts of beautiful creations. We threw on some sprinkles and other toppings.
My mother loved to teach me her baking and cooking skills. She knew I wasn’t ever going to be the perfect homemaker. I didn’t realize we were making memories at the time. I thought I was just learning something for the future. Many times I would roll my eyes at the thought of having to learn another trick in the kitchen. She knew what she was doing. The best part of learning these tricks was sharing the results with loved ones. We shared those crazy cookies, cakes, and other baked goods. We shared the love and smiled as people enjoyed our food. That’s what it’s all about. No one cared that my strange looking creatures weren’t pieces of art. They sure did taste yummy.
Making New Memories
Now when I walk into my mother-in-law’s kitchen and smell something baking, I smile. We teach my boys how to bake cookies. The little boys leave the tough stuff up to us. They just love to pour on the sprinkles and slather the icing on top before they dig into the cookies.
My mother would smile at the little baker I am today. I’ll never be the same as her, but I will enjoy sharing these times with my little boys. Love is the best recipe in the world.
I never knew as that teenager baking cookies that one day I would be teaching my own children these things. They’ll look back and realize they were making memories instead of actually learning to bake.