Well, good morning again...why do I say again? Because half way through my blog, the computer decided to update and I lost my blog. That is the most frustrating thing...ever!!!
I wish something would pop up on the screen you are working on and tell you so you can quickly save!
Well, here I go again. I have been so fortunate to have my friend/daughter staying with me for a couple of days. I so look forward to her visits. They go by so quickly and yet I cherish every moment. Well, this visit out, one of the things that we did was go through my mother's handwritten recipe books in search of some recipe's I must tell you that this turned out to be so much more than an ordinary search. This is the first real time that I have been able to go through these books on a real level since receiving them after my mother passed away....almost 5 years ago. Every page that I turn, there was my mother. Her scent permeated each page. It is amazing to me that that scent is still trapped in those pages. As I looked through water filled eyes upon one recipe after another...I noticed how good she was about keeping them all. She labeled who's recipe's came from who. My Grandma's recipe's, my aunt's and so forth. I inhaled her as I carefully turned page after page. There was a funny moment as I stared at her handwriting, thinking about all the years anyone that knew her, complained about her horrific handwriting! We were always handing each other pages she had written trying to figure out the words and yet, here in this book, they were the most priceless gifts! MY MOTHERS handwriting, her smell, she was there....right there with me.
The next morning, I took from the refrigerate that items needed to prepare Grandma's bread with my friend/daughter. This was something she really wanted to learn and I had made sure I purchased some fresh yeast in advance to do this with her. After a wonderful breakfast of malt waffles and fresh strawberries with homemade strawberry sauce. We began the bread making process. Now I walked her through each step, allowing her to understand not only the way it looked but also how it felt, step by step as we kneaded the dough, adding a little flour at a time until it was just the right texture. I explained how when she lifted the dough, it needed to feel light and airy and not heavy and doughy. We then placed it in the unheated open to rise. We were then off to our crafting. I have been teaching her to use the sewing machine, and she is making a rag blanket. I of course went and returning to painting. After the hour and a half, I took her back to the oven to gaze upon the risen dough. I then proceeded to have her punch it down and learn to knead it again and then to butter up the pans, cut and roll the dough and place it in the pans and then back into the oven for it's second rise. We cleaned up and then back to crafting. We stopped to have some lunch and then it was time to butter up the dough and turn on the ovens. The aroma was amazing. She had never smelled fresh bread baking in the house. Can you imagine that? Funny how when I look back in my memory bank...that was an every day occurrences growing up and when for many of the years of my children's lives, I made bread almost on a daily basis. Well, I must say, the aroma was amazing, even when you have smelled it a million times before. When the breads came out of the oven and after a very short cooling time, we removed the bread from the pans to rest and cool. I could tell how anxious she was about having a slice of that bread...and to be honest with you...so was I. After 30 minutes, I sliced us each a slice and smeared it with butter. I could tell on her face just how thrilled she was. She said she had never tasted bread that good....ever! I new she must have meant it because she had 4 slices! LOL. I was so pleased!
So to surprise her even more...for dinner, I decided to teach her to make my grandmother's potato dumplings in bacon, onion and cream sauce. Step by I taught her how to grate the potatoes and onions, how to make the dough and drop it in the boiling water. I then fried up the bacon and onions and added the dumplings and cream and spices. I then took and wrapped chicken up in bacon and baked it. What a wonderful dinner from my past. I have never been able to find any restaurant that make anything even close to Grandma's dumplings....and then we of course had the bread...since we made three loaves of it. We spent the evening talking about the difference in the ingredients and I asked whether she noticed the color? I talked about using the specific flour and how it changed the color. She said she had not noticed it...she was too involved in savoring it's taste. So, this morning, the first thing she wanted to have was a slice of bread...I just laughed as she prepared it and shouted from the kitchen that I was right about the color! All I could think of was good!! She has learned well. It is such an amazing accomplishment for me in my life that part of me will continue on long after I am gone. That I have kept Grandma alive with stories and recipes and the real food...the type of food that you savor every bite! The kind of food that you don't gobble down because it is just too darn delicious not to stop and take notice of each bite!
I must say, doing weight watchers and having that food yesterday was difficult, but rewarding at the same time. I savored each bite and yet was careful not to overdo. The last time I went to a meeting, one of the things the leader spoke about was paying attention to each bite of food. Well, I have to say...it is a whole lot easier to savor each piece when they are that delicious! I have gotten away from some of the older recipes and the past few days have gotten me excited again about revisiting them. You really can live in the past if you try hard enough!