Since we moved back to the area where we were born and raised, Gary has been all about bonding with family. He’s always enjoyed being with loved ones, but he’s been more assertive lately about making plans with them. Perhaps the death of his father coaxed this strong pull.
We didn’t live near any family for most of our lives together. Now that we’re near mine, he lights up when we get together.
One of the things he made a priority was spending time in the kitchen with each of our mom’s. So, back in April, he set a plan to fly to Florida and spend a day with his mom, J, baking his favorite dessert from childhood . . . apple slices.
When Gary told J his wish to recreate those mouth-watering cinnamon-apple goodies with her, she was hesitant. It had been a very long time, but he talked her into the idea. The apple slices called for making the dough the day before, so J dug out the old recipe and got the job done night before he arrived. Then, the real fun began. I’ll turn it over to Gary to tell the story.
Gary: Mom pulled out old kitchen tools that haven’t seen the daylight in years.
I asked her about them, and that’s when the stories came out.
When Mom showed me the recipe, I realized I needed to pull out my degree in reading hieroglyphics to decode the handwriting. I’m the only one in the family (out of four sons, ten grandkids, eight great-grandkids), who can translate her handwriting. She explained to me that back when she made the slices for us as kids, she wanted to make her mom’s recipe, but lost it. So, she asked her neighbor for her recipe. Mrs. L. dictated it to Mom, and thus, the handwriting dilemma.
As we continued, she shared more. She told me a story about an incident that happened when she was in high school. She took her boyfriend along to visit her aunt and brought a batch of the baked apple slices. It was quite a drive, so after they stopped for gas and stretched their legs, Mom got back in the car and plopped her butt right down on top the apple slices. Now, she laughed about it these near 70 years later.
I never met my mother’s parents, and as we worked on our own version of the apple slices, I learned that my grandmother was a professional seamstress in the 1940’s. I also never knew that my grandmother made pasta from scratch, and none of us are Italian. I must’ve had that pasta gene in me, because I married into an Italian family who makes pasta from scratch. That story is to come next week.
Lori: While decoding a recipe, Gary’s mom decoded some family memories for all of us to cherish. Cooking together is a wonderful way to bond.
Both of us would love for you to read about Gary’s experience making pasta from scratch with my mom. He has a beautiful message to share at the end. We both thank you for reading about our family.
P.S. If you’d like the apple slices recipe, please say so in the comments and I’ll post them on Friday. But, you should know that the recipe was not complete so they winged some of it.