This past weekend The Masters golf tournament was played in Augusta, Georgia. As I sat down to watch some of the final round of play, CBS’s tagline for their coverage of the tournament greeted me - “A tradition unlike any other.” And that got me thinking about traditions in my life.
Now this is a kitchen/food related blog, so I won’t bore you with any of the non-culinary traditions that came to mind. But I realized that a lot of my traditions are food-related.
Growing up, my maternal grandmother was a strong presence in our lives. Dad traveled a lot for his work, and I think Mom needed the help keeping up with me and my four younger siblings. Nana, as we called her, was part chauffeur and part psychologist. I miss her love and her wisdom. I also miss her chocolate cake!
Nana’s chocolate cake (yellow cake with rich chocolate fudge icing) was a mainstay at our house… for birthdays, at holidays, and any time we could sweet talk her into making one. We loved those cakes. We would stand by the stove and watch as she melted the chocolate and sugar, then stirred in the butter. There must have been quite a trick to getting it all just right. I remember learning some very interesting phrases when things wouldn’t go as she planned. Nana didn’t curse, but she was very good at expressing her frustrations verbally (her favorite was to start through the list of Old Testament prophets). Wish I had a nickel for every time I heard, “Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea ….” And oh how we kids fought over scraping out the pot after she had iced the cake!!
I’m not advocating that you begin the practice of making homemade fudge icing, but I am advocating that you pass along traditions, including food traditions, to the following generations. My life is richer because of the time I spent with my grandmother as she made those cakes. I remember the twinkle in her eye. I remember the smells. And I remember the love that went into everything that she did.
Food, and its preparation, has a way of drawing us together. That’s why conversations in the kitchen or at the table are often so candid and meaningful. Take advantage of those characteristics and start reinforcing, or building, some traditions of your own.
True confession time … after reflecting yesterday about the icing on Nana’s cakes, I tried an “experiment” to recreate it for use on some frozen vanilla yogurt. Some neighbors had given us some chocolate fudge recently, and I figured that melted fudge would come close. So I took some fudge, put it in a small glass bowl, and set the microwave for 30 seconds. The taste actually was pretty close, but what I most successfully achieved was creating a chocolate volcano. I needed a few of those choice phrases Nana used to use.
by Robby Richardson