Thursday, November 24, 2011

Memories in the Kitchen

Thanksgiving.  Turkey, dressing, yams, green bean casserole, corn casserole, cranberries, the list goes on and on.  Even with all of that, my favorite has to be the dessert – pecan pies, pumpkin pies, apple pies, peanut butter fudge.  Mmm…does it get any better than that?

Thanksgiving brings up so many memories.  When I was growing up, my mom and I spent many hours in the kitchen preparing for Thanksgiving.  We would start planning days in advance for the goodies we wanted to make for Thanksgiving.  Everyone in the family had his own favorite dessert, and we felt the need to make them all.

It was in that kitchen that I learned to love the joys of cooking.  It’s also where I learned so many lessons about baking.  Things like:
The difference between baking powder and baking soda as I baked cookies for the first time by myself.  It truly does make a difference in the taste and texture!  My first batch of cookies ended up in the trash.
The importance of stirring the flour into the mix before turning on the mixer, so that the cabinets don’t get coated in flour;
Likewise, the importance of turning off the beaters before taking them out of the bowl.

These are just a few of the practical lessons I learned in the kitchen.  More than that, I remember the stories that were told, and the laughter that filled the air while stirring fudge constantly until it reached the right temperature on the candy thermometer.  At the time, I thought it was a test in patience.  Now I know it was about building relationships.

Now that I am grown with children of my own, I want to instill in them the joys of cooking.

Each Thanksgiving, my husband says, “I can just pick up a pie at the store.”

I look at him like he’s crazy.  “Really?  And miss out on the fun of baking?” I ask.

“But think of the mess and all the time it takes,” he points out.

“Yes, but look at all the memories we’re making.”

I think he finally understands.

When my children grow up and look back on their time at home, my hope is that they remember the holidays and all the time we spent making memories in the kitchen.

What are some of your favorite holiday memories?

Julie Swink is a Sr. Marketing Specialist for Texas Health Resources and mother of two.

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