Many family memories are often centered around food. I spent the morning cooking up some recipes that have been handed down through my mom and thinking about my grandparents: two who have been gone for a number of years and two who live halfway across the country from me. (I cheated and found similar or identical recipes on my favorite recipe site and linked them through.)
Peanut brittle always makes me think of my dad's Dad - my Grandpa George. Every Christmas, peanut brittle was his trademark treat and he had a microwave recipe that was awesome. I remember one Christmas when I was in high school, making this recipe with my dad in the kitchen of our house, finagling the hot syrup and putting the cookie sheets in the garage to set. After that my mind wanders to playing cards with my Grandpa, learning how to drive in his little red Dodge Shadow and a particular "kid in the candy-store" moment when he was told that we had frozen yogurt on hand for his dessert. Peanut brittle also makes me think of my Grandpa Bud - he always has a jar of peanuts between the front seats in his car. He's always tinkering and we've played a fair number of card games with him too.
Peanut Butter Balls and another treat called Frying Pan cookies were a Christmas favorite that my mom would make from recipes that her mom handed down to her. Grandma Jean would send us a package at Christmas complete with homemade jam, lefse, and other goodies. Grandma's jam and jellies were always the best and we looked forward to them all year! When we visit Grandma, everyone takes a break from activities for coffee and a treat in the morning. For us kids it was usually cookies and milk. Grandma's health doesn't allow her to cook so much any more, but what goes around comes around and I'm looking forward to sending off a box of goodies for her and Grandpa Bud this week.
I remember the feasts that would accompany the holidays at my Grandma Foy's house. She would make pies by the dozen and they would all be lined up on the pass-through between the kitchen and dining room. In the back room you could find the tins that were packed with fudge and cookies. I'm sure there was turkey or ham or other healthy foods, but that's not what my childhood memory held on to. (Oh, except for Grandpa George's chili and he always had some around with hot dogs for us.) I remember Grandma teaching me how to crochet and summer days in their back yard.
So many generations are often represented in our traditional Christmas goodies. Make sure you take a moment and share these memories with your children and loved ones this Christmas season.