My wife and I come from a long line of great cooks. My mother is renowned for her cajun dishes and my mother-in-law’s macaroni and cheese is legendary. During the holiday season, we all get together to partake in all of this fabulous food. What I like most is watching generations of our family gather in the kitchen to share stories and pass on recipes. On Christmas Eve, my mother-in-law (the kids call her G-Mom) comes over and spends the day baking with my wife and daughter.
The tradition began with my wife’s baking Christmas cookies with the kids. Truthfully, she did most of the baking – and the kids did most of the eating. Over the years, my sons started to lose interest and become spectators rather than participants. Nee, my 12 year-old daughter, however, was dedicated to learning to be a skilled baker. Her training went into overdrive when G-Mom agreed to join them in the kitchen.
This year, Nee couldn’t wait to get started. After breakfast, she gathered the ingredients for the desserts, donned her apron and waited on G-Mom to arrive.
“Looks like someone’s ready to bake,” said G-mom as she entered the kitchen. Nee smiled and got busy showing off her skills. She cracked the eggs, measured the sugar, and blended the batter until our 20-year-old hand held mixer started smoking from overuse.
“Mom, you need a new mixer,” she said as she handed the worn our mixer to my wife.
“Well, there’s always the old-fashioned way,” My wife reminded her, handing her a wooden spoon.
Over the next few hours Nee, G-mom and my wife made dozens of tasty treats (Chocolate Walnut Rice Krispies Treats, Krave Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies, Coconut Pecan Treats, Sugar Cookies). I’d peek in periodically to sample their work and to eavesdrop on their conversations. G-Mom shared stories about growing up in rural Tennessee. My wife told Nee about some of her childhood holiday memories. Nee told them about things that were happening at school and what it’s like to be a 7th grader.
After the cookies and other treats were finished, my mother-in-law taught Nee how to make our family’s favorite holiday dessert – The Coconut Pineapple Cake. We wait all year to indulge in this decadent treat. G-Mom has never written down the recipe. It’s all in her head. Watching her pass the torch to my daughter was a wonderful experience.
Later that night, we attended a candlelight service at church. As the light filled the sanctuary, I thought about my wife, daughter, and mother-in-law’s baking and bonding in the kitchen. These sweet memories are what make the holiday season so special for our family.
Join the conversation: What are some of your family’s holiday traditions?
Disclosure: I’m a paid Kellogg’s Ambassador. All opinions are my own.