No One Did It Like Grandma – A Blog of Thanks

28 Nov

There are pieces of my grandmother’s spirit throughout my house. Her wedding ring that still hasn’t decided which finger of mine to call home. Her copy of March of the Penguins that I borrowed and never returned. The recipe card hook she sneakily asked me about (to confirm I didn’t own one) and then surprised me with at Christmas. And now the gift I made for her kitchen resides in mine.


The passing of my grandma in May was harder than I thought it would be. She was old and her health had been declining for a while, but the speed with which she went from an independently living senior citizen to no longer with us was startling. It didn’t help that our last real conversation had been a quarrel over something stupid. Still, I was able to see her before she passed to tell her that I loved her. Not that I needed to; I know she already knew.

Like I said, losing my grandma was hard, and I think of her often. I think of her especially when I am cooking. Grandma K. had many talents, but none so obvious and admired as her skills in the kitchen. That woman could cook. Anything. She knew which spice would complement an otherwise bland meal, what you could use as a substitute for butter powdered sugar salt anything, how much to make to serve x number of people. Far better than any cook book, I turned to her with countless kitchen queries and she came through for me every time.

For this year’s Thanksgiving feast I have been assigned to make an orange jello – one of my grandma’s specialties. It’s bittersweet to be staring at her recipe. It’s not one that she wrote in her own spidery cursive; I remember distinctly getting this recipe from her over the phone. Still, there’s no denying the words are hers when the recipe says to “let set a little bit.” As a novice in the kitchen there is nothing more irritating than unspecified quantities in a recipe, but that’s just how she worked. She didn’t need to measure quantities or times, she had a natural ability (and years of practice) to know when enough was enough.

I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Among the many blessings I am thankful for is the ability to say that I am her granddaughter. This is the first major holiday that I’ll be celebrating without her. It’s going to be weird, and I am going to miss her. So much. Despite this, I am comforted to know that her spirit will be with me in that jello and with every delectable bite.

Happy Thanksgiving.


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