Monday, July 26, 2010

On being a Hazelette

     My Grandmother was a big influence in my life.  My first memories of her were cooking and sewing together.  She introduced me to the joys of eating something I had created with my own two hands.  My grandmother showed me how to enjoy being in the kitchen.  From my Grandma Hazel I learned how to make buttery Lefsa, pies, cookies, delicious potato soup and crispy fried fish.  There was always enough food and no one was ever turned down for a spot at the table.

     I am longing for strawberry season here in Wisconsin.  My Grandma used to put out bowls of full fat sour cream and dark brown sugar for us to dip the fresh local strawberries in.  I am sure that I must have looked like my daughter does when her mouth is too full.  Strawberry juice dripping out of my mouth, cheeks puffed out barely able to hold it all in.  Loving the velvety smoothness of the sour cream on the perfectly ripe berries with the deep molassesy goodness of the brown sugar.  That memory makes me happy.  It makes me remember how I learned to love food.

     All of the women in my family learned something from our matriarch.  Aside from being known by the men in the family as Hazelettes, we learned to be hard headed, welcoming, and above all good cooks.  I write and cook in memory of her.  I only wish that I would have been able to know her in my adult life, and to be able to cook for her like she used to for me.