I had what I now recognize as the distinct privilege of living with my grandmother for a few years until she entered the nursing home where she would pass some several years down the road. Every year until her health prevented it, Grandma would bake Christmas cookies for everyone in the family. We’re talking hundreds of Gingerbread men and sugar cookies, all made from scratch and all hand-painted with her own homemade icing and “egg paint.” As a child, I didn’t understand the importance of this gift and so I guess I just didn’t pay attention. A few days ago, while reading my cousin’s blog, I learned something about the lovely woman I called Grandma that had me in tears, wishing I could go back and appreciate her more while she was with us.
Those cookies were not only scratch-made and hand-painted, but also hand-cut with a butter knife using templates she’d cut out of magazines and traced onto cardboard. It seems she’d lost her cookie cutters years prior and the “new fangled ones” were never quite right. Learning this floored me. It wasn’t just sugary confections she was giving us after all…it was hours upon hours of her time and all of her love.
I talked with my mom after reading this, because I knew she still had some of Grandma’s things. I asked her for the recipes and if she hadn’t thrown out those templates, to please send those too. Lo and behold, she still had them…and handy, as if she’d been expecting someone to ask for them all these years since Grandma went home.
Tonight, I was sitting here going through and reading the first group of recipes from Anna Belle’s Kitchen…and I come across what must be the most important recipe I ever missed. I’ll post it below since it’s really not as much of a family secret as Grandma’s cookies:
Lover’s Wedding Cake
4 lbs flour of love
1/2 lb each of buttered youth, good looks, sweet temper, blindness of fault, self forgetfulness and powdered wits
1/2 oz dry humor
2 Tbsp sweet argument
1/2 pint rippling laughter
1/2 glass of common sense
Pour the flour of love into a well furnished house. Beat the butter of youth into a cream. Mix blindness of fault, self-forgetfulness, powdered wits and dry humor into sweet argument and add all to above. Pour in gently rippling laughter and common sense. Work it all together until mixed well, then bake gently forever.
You see, all I ever needed to know about marriage was in Grandma’s cookbook all along. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned, and for the place I am in today. I know I couldn’t be where I am, and my husband and I couldn’t be where we are together today if I hadn’t learned those lessons. I do so hope that in the future, I won’t be so stubborn and hard to teach, though. God bless you all! Have a very Merry CHRISTmas!