The holidays are upon us and everyone recalls special foods they love from their childhood.
I know I do. It is an overwhelming natural reaction to the Thanksgiving and Christmas time cheer all around us.
Over the past few years, these cravings I have endured have been getting more and more strong.
I didn't put much thought into why this is happening until now.
Like stated above, we all seem to have these cravings. Rather it is a special ham, the perfect dressing, warm soft cookies or sweet candies.
All were made with love and made in the home. If we could just run out to the local grocer and but them, well we wouldn't pine for them so much.
But this really doesn't explain the possession of want I have for them.
How it has grown as I have grown over the years.
I now have children and when I was younger, I didn't put much effort into carrying on traditions or making new ones.
It was all about making it work. Finding the funds to buy buy buy all those expensive toys and gadgets.
Now that they are getting older I have found myself trying to relive old family traditions for their sake.
Wanting them to feel the way I did during the holidays. The best way for me to do this is cooking.
Now, most of us just think that we pine for these once a year treats because we rarely get them.
I think there is an altogether different reason. Yes, the treats are good.
But, as I make them and eat them it doesn't seem to truly and wholly satisfy the craving.
I still want more or something else I recall. I try better recipes; I make them in bigger batches.
Still not satisfied.
But, I did find that while making these I enlisted my daughters help.
Well at first I forced her too..haha. While making these wonderful treats, I found that I was actually being filled.
It was the act of making them with someone I love and serving them to the ones I love that was filling to me.
Alas, though I got some filling my cravings were not drowned.
For me the cravings were for candies and pies. All homemade and most are older and traditional.
Humdingers, peanut butter fudge, dark chocolate fudge, rice crispy treats, butterscotch chow mien hay stacks and cow patties.
These were the candies of my childhood. These were made by my family every year.
I have tried to duplicate them, but they aren't as good as I remember no matter how hard I tried.
I finally realized this year why that is. Why I could not make the candies just right.
Why I could never get enough of them. It wasn't as much the actual candies that I was craving so much, but the family experience I was missing.
Since my papaw passed away, holidays have never been the same.
The family stopped gathering like they used to. My granny was heart broken and lost interest in making all these wonderful treats.
Once she passed on, there were no large gatherings at all.
Now, we all stick to our immediate families on the holidays. There were three daughters that papaw and granny had.
Each of the daughters immediate families gather separately each year.
Even still for some of us like myself, I love two states away from my grandmother, so there is no gathering at all that I attend.
My children had never had that experience that I was so very fortunate to have had.
I guess those days are all gone now. Everyone seems to not care as much for cousins, aunts and uncles like they once did.
A family reunion once in a blue moon is all most families have anymore.
This is sad. This isn't how we were all raised!
We were raised enjoying the holidays with aunts, uncles, cousins and the in laws.
Everyone came together now baring gifts so much as baring something made from the heart and to be treasured... FOOD.
Everyone carried in something, even if it wasn't much. We were a poor family, so we weren't able to buy gifts for extended family.
Buying gifts wasn't necessary. Their company was the best gift of all.
How I miss those gifts at Christmas time. I would give anything for us to all get along and gather like we were meant to do.
But, I seriously doubt that will ever happen. So, the best thing I can do is bake, cook and decorate.
I bake scores of cookies every year. I make candies that my kids now expect and I make homemade decorations with them as well.
No, it isn't the same traditions that I once knew, but it is our little family's new tradition.
Every Christmas morning the kids wake up to freshly baked sausage pinwheels and hot chocolate.
We all gather around the tree, eating and laughing and then we open presents.
In conclusion, I guess the days of the large open family gatherings are gone for us.
But, to make the best of it and to attempt to satisfy the cravings I will do everything I can to make my own small family's Christmas memorable.
With Love, Manda