Yes, I realize that remembery isn’t actually a word. However, when I was growing up, it was in my vocabulary. I still occasionally use it to tease my well-read, left-brained engineer Man Friend, who is incredibly literal and rarely misuses a word. My favorite Christmas remembery doesn’t involve typical gifts or ornaments. It, like many of my favorite memories, revolves around food…and before you judge, I don’t have any odd psychological dependency on food.
My grandparents lived in an odd house when I was growing up. It’s a hulking grey two-story home that I pass by occasionally when I’m driving down a certain busy street in Midland. My grandfather would string together lights outside, all of them mismatched. Some were translucent, others opaque. Some blinked while the rest stayed lit. To this day, my family still lovingly calls them “Pawpaw lights.” But it was the inside of the house where all the Christmas action happened.
I remember that house like the back of my hand, with its formal living area and informal den (I still have yet to meet another soul who refers to a second living area as a “den”). The two were separated by my grandmother’s kitchen and boy, was that a busy place during the holiday season! As the oldest, and therefore best and most responsible, grandchild, I was always given the special privilege of helping Memaw concoct a huge array of Christmas goodies. She and my grandfather always hosted Christmas Day brunch for her family, friends, and her church group, so the cooking started early. Looking back, I sort of wonder if their Christmas Day feast was the beginning of my parents’ straggler’s Thanksgiving tradition.
Memaw knew how to put on a show. Everything had a bit of flair, a touch of glitter, a hint of class. She worked for hours in the kitchen preparing, with me thieving bites and helping to roll out pie dough, dole out rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheets, and helping her perfect a new punch recipe. Memaw was all about pizazz, from appetizers to aperitifs. There was no stone left unturned when it came to her parties. I looked forward to them every year. Helping her in the kitchen is one of my most memorable remember-ies from growing up. I also really wish I could remember where her mini cheesecake recipes ran off to.
Need A Little Something Extra?
Memaw has been gone for over three years now. She instilled a love of cooking in me so long again and I miss her and those memories, especially around Christmas. However, a dear friend reassured me a while back that every time I cook, she is more than likely peeking over my shoulder to make sure whatever I’m making has that little something special added to it.
From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!