Thursday, November 12, 2009

Grandma's Rolling Pin

In the process of making homemade chicken and noodles for my husband Randy, the thought occurred to me that my rolling pin would outlast me – as it did my grandmother. I guess my mind traveled to that conclusion because I was using her rolling pin to roll out the noodles.

My grandmother has been gone for many years now and I thoroughly enjoy using her old rolling pin and remembering what she did with it. I can hold this treasured piece of wood in my hands, but never again will I taste the wonderful noodles, cookies, pies, and other goodies that she made, with the help of this treasured rolling pin.

I come from a family of cooks who have used their cooking and baking skills in many ways. There is my brother who, for a time, worked as a chef in Seattle and Los Angeles. Also my sister, in Alaska, who managed the lunch counter at a large health food store and enjoyed playing with recipes for the vegetarian palate.

My mother often cooked Sunday dinners for company after church. Or spent a whole afternoon making homemade cinnamon rolls, and dinner rolls. She also made the best jams in the world, to go on those luscious dinner rolls - raspberry jam, and frozen strawberry jam. Yum! And, for a time, her pies sold in a small café on the main highway between Bothell and Everett, Washington, just north of Seattle.

My dad had a flair for creating an awesome sweet barbeque sauce from scratch. Chicken off the grill takes on a whole new flavor with this sauce. The family finally convinced him to write down the recipe. I can still see him standing at the kitchen counter, sometime in the 1950’s, measuring each ingredient, for the first time, so we could reproduce what he was able to just throw together. We still use his recipe to this day. Even Randy, who does not easily move toward a new taste, became a convert after we were married.

Speaking of Randy, he makes the best homemade chili I’ve ever tasted. He tosses in some fresh veggies near the end of the cooking time so you have the crunch of diced celery, onions and green peppers, as well as the warmth and goodness of the chili, in every bite. Doesn’t that sound great during this cold snap we’ve been experiencing?

So where do I fit in this creative group? I love to bake pies. It warmed my heart, a few years ago, to have my youngest son ask me to teach his bride how to make cherry pies. My grandmothers, on both sides of my family, left me a pie-baking legacy that I feel honor bound to continue into the next generation of our family. And that always brings me back to my grandmother’s rolling pin.

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