As December 1st fast approaches I know that Christmas is just around the corner. As I prepare for my children by getting those little items on their list that they know Santa will bring and some special treats that I know they will just love my mind is distracted.
The next part of my Christmas preparation is the incredible amount of baking that I am normally well into by the beginning of November. This is the part of the Christmas tradition that I have not started yet. It just dawned on me why. In my family my grandmother was the baker. I would spend summers in Truro, Nova Scotia with her and my Papa and she would bake. If she wasn't in the midst of it she would be pulling treats out of her freezer for me. She thought nothing of feeding me one of her delicious home made Christmas Puddings in the middle of August just because I asked for it.
The treats my Nanny would pull out would be shortbread cookies, touched with icing and a candied cherry, she would have TV rolls (marshmallows rolled with chocolate, nuts and coconut), thimble cookies, pork pies (no pork in them) raisin cookies, ginger cookies soft and hard, brownies, nanaimo bars, cherry loaf and fruit cakes. Her two full size deep freezers always over flowing. Mum swore each summer I would return 20 pounds happier! As my Nanny got older she could no longer bake the way she used to. Her hands sore with arthritis and her mind not so clear with Alzheimers.
We were lucky to have her close to us the last two Christmases and I have been given her gift to bake. So I would spend two months filling my much smaller deep freeze with all of the items listed above as well as some of my husbands favorites from Newfloundland. Peanut butter balls, 5 star bars, Queen Elisabeth squares, date squares and many others. A week or so before Christmas I would go and visit with my Nan as I did almost every week and this time I would have a tin of her favorite treats and some new ones. This made her think of how much she loved to bake and how she couldn't do it. She did tell me a few times how happy it made her that I would bring her these treats and maybe next time I could bring her something new.... always with a suggestion of something she had a hankering for. I was more than happy to do it for her as she did for me. Of course Christmas day would come and I would visit carrying another tin (larger this time) full of her favorites and whatever else she had requested. I know she loved it but I think I loved to watch her eat them even more.
So now as Christmas gets closer and closer again and my Nanny has passed on I feel as if my heart is not in my baking as it has been in years past. I know my family loves it when I put together all of these little treats and delicacies. But I miss my teacher the one who enjoyed them more than most. Maybe as the weeks pass and we get closer I will pull out my old stained and dogeared cook books and arrange my ingredients and bake. I am sure it will make me feel better. I will taste the treats I grew up with and think of you. I will pass the joy of watching others enjoy as you did with me. This I am sure will heal my hurting heart! I hope that wherever you are now that you put a little bit of your Nanny magic into the most delicio
Jennifer is an RMT, long time yoga practitioner and teacher. Follow her musings as an RMT, yoga teacher, prenatal educator and mother of three.