When I was younger I would spend a lot of time at my Great Aunt Millie’s house. She lived alone, her husband had died before I was born and she never had any kids of her own. I would spend hours over there every week. Every visit, I mean every visit, involved food. She was a cook at a local restaurant. More importantly was the fact that she grew up cooking for her family. At a young age my great grandma died leaving behind 8 children. My grandfather was a coal miner in Wyoming and so the rearing of the children was left upon her. Now you can imagine how that was during the 1930’s and 40’s! She cooked for her brothers and sisters and dad, which eventually made her a pro, and she spent the rest of her life doing it for a living!
Sometimes I sneak away to my cedar chest and pull out an old afghan that belonged to her just to breath in her smell. It takes me away into my favorite childhood memories… ones that I long for so bad some days. To her, food was more than just a meal, but an occasion to bring us closer together!
She taught me how to make old fashioned sugar cookies and we put the sprinkles on before we baked them! I learned how to make sweet rolls caked with cinnamon. She made chicken and mashed potatoes for Friday night get togethers. If we were lucky, she made her famous spaghetti which only my sister can replicate! She had a special zucchini bread that contains a secret ingredient (bet you can’t guess it)! And every Christmas we went over to decorate cookies. It wasn’t just the baking that was special. I couldn’t wait until it was my turn to sleep over at her house. We were pampered from head to toe as if we were her honored guests. Friday night would be out to dinner night and then breakfast was a complete masterpiece with bacon, eggs, toast, and hot chocolate. The food was really the highlight of the sleepover!
She knew that my favorite cookie was Peanut Blossoms, and she even sent me a package of them for my birthday when I left to college! That was the last package I would receive from her.
Now that I am older with a family of my own, I have since gained a passion for cooking. I especially love to eat what I make . But there is something more to it than that. My Aunt left a huge imprint in my life and I can’t say I would be who I am today without her in it. Cooking to me is more than just food, it is FAMILY!
I finally realized this last week. My husband was gone and I had been quite busy with to do’s all day. The kids were in need of my attention. They asked if we could bake something and I full knew the additional mess I would have to clean up. But something in me shouted do it! We rolled up our sleeves and for the first time ever baked homemade donuts! A whopping 56 of them! 56 DONUTS! Next time I will cut the batch in half! We worked hard to make them and were more than excited to give daddy a handful when he walked in the door! They were so good… seriously I can’t go back to store bought! We sure made a mess but it was worth it! I hope my kids always remember the day we made 56 donuts!
Someday I can’t wait to thank her.
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