As I have made my way through life and sampled many many holiday goodies, I find myself drawn to the same ones my mom used to make. Toffee, fudge, brownies, hard candy, cookies. Even though I have added new "favorites" over the years, it's fun to think back to those happy times when Mom was baking for the Holidays and we were all waiting for a chance to "help". Test tasting was my favorite job! I have kept some of her recipes and enjoy recreating these much loved treats.
As a child, my grandparents from Greece, lived about a 10 hour drive from us and we only used to see them once a year in the summer. "Baby Grandma" (she stood under 5') spoke broken English and communicating with her was sometimes a challenge. She was a fantastic cook though and would send us a care package every Christmas. It was always full of the Old Country cookies and cakes we had come to love. This was a highly anticipated event, because she would send the New Year's Cake which had a dime hidden inside. Our tradition was to cut a piece of cake for every member of the family and one extra for the "house". Whichever piece of cake held the dime, that person (or the "house") would enjoy good luck for the coming New Year. That lucky dime was a coveted prize!
When we first moved to the Midwest we had a neighbor down the street, she was Italian and fiesty! We were always welcome in her home and during Christmas time, she had a table full of authentic Italian treats. Over the years, my girls and I have spent time in her kitchen learning how to make them and listening to the stories of her childhood and family. She is wonderful woman, doting mother and grandmother, and even though we have been moved away many years now, I still try to make time to get over there to visit and trade cookies.
Being able to share homemade holiday treats is like giving a gift and a hug at the same time. It makes for a great excuse to drop in and visit someone you might not see all the time. The treats are also easy to mail and generally keep well. Who doesn't love getting a care package in the mail? It is a gift that works for both young and old, one size fits all and no two are alike.
So, if you are busy running around shopping, to find that perfect gift for someone special in your life that already has everything they need, consider giving the gift of love that comes from the kitchen. Canned goods, baked treats, whatever you have crafted...these are the gifts that open doors and hearts and will leave them with a smile. Sharing and caring, isn't that what the Holiday season is all about?
Share your holiday treats and gift ideas with us here or at www.facebook.com/thepocketfarmer. Hope to see you there! :)