As you can tell by the title of the blog post, Ms. Bear’s Kitchen is coming out of hibernation today! After a hiatus, I talked my mom into bringing the delicious column back for a special Ms. Bear’s Kitchen holiday baking edition. And I think she enjoyed it too!! I’ll just let her take it away… xoxo
Every year when the holidays arrive, I have the highest hopes that this will be the year I will be getting my zest back for all things Christmas! This year was no different. After Thanksgiving, I started hoping against hope that this year I would be infused with the holiday spirit. Lo and behold, it was finally my year!!! I went to the store, bought lots of stuff, did some decorating, got two new small trees and put them up and even got a big penguin Merry Christmas banner for the door. I even enjoyed making out hand-written Christmas cards this year, which I haven’t even done since Brian died! Still, though, I felt like something was amiss. What could it have been, I wondered to myself? Well, leave it up to Melissa to know just what it was.
“Mom, why don’t you try to bake some things like Grandma used to do?” she asked me several times.
Hmm, maybe that was it, I thought to myself. Well, as all her readers know, we have pretty much made the almond cookies so much until they have lost their luster for us. So, I started thinking about what holiday treats I remember my mom making. I decided on the date bars and the pumpkin bread. And with great gusto, I went out and got all the ingredients. My sister sent me the recipes (of course, I couldn’t find mine!) and it was neat because she sent them over a text. That was interesting in two ways…first, they were in my mom’s handwriting, which was really neat, but also, my mom died before the tech age dawned, and she would have been tickled pink to know that in the space of a few seconds the recipe came from California to my cell phone in Illinois!
So, I started right in and made the pumpkin bread first. Four little bread loaves went into and came out of the oven. Oh, the house smelled just like home! The bread was delicious, but slightly underdone in the middle (my oven is quirky, for sure). But, we ate it anyway and have some left in the freezer that we’ve been chipping away at!
Then, it was time for the date bars. I don’t remember dates being so expensive! But, I bit the bullet and bought the required amount. The date bars were a little more complicated, as you had to boil the dates into a paste, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I even got the crumb crust and topping just right. They came out of the oven slightly overdone, but they were still good. I suspect my mom may have doubled the amount of dates that go in them because I remember hers being really thick.
I’ll remember this Christmas as the one where I returned to holiday happiness. And, my mom’s baked goods had a big part in that transformation! So, to combine two of my favorite Christmas songs into one lesson learned this year……I’ll be home for Christmas and there is no place like home for the holidays!!! I really felt like I was home too, due to the sights, sounds and smells of those baked goods!