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Book CoverI’ve been visiting blogs all over the place these past few weeks, preparing for the December 27 release of my latest book, Warrior’s Redemption.  [Yes, please go look at it!  Yes, please go buy it!!] And, because we’re in the holiday season, many people have asked me the same sort of question – “What’s your favorite holiday memory?” or some variation of what the holidays mean to me.

And though I’ve come up with a variety of answers, nothing made the REAL answer so clear to me as when I did something totally unrelated to writing or talking about my new book today.

Let me backtrack for just a moment…

In October my youngest son got married.   After the wedding, one of the first things he asked me to do for him was to make copies of recipes for some of his favorite dishes.  Once I recovered from the shock of his list (What?  Twenty-one years and you can only think of six things I’ve made for you that you like???), I decided to put together a small family recipe book as a Christmas gift for him.  Nothing fancy, no publishing and binding, just typed up recipes that have been in the family for a while, along with a few notes about where and who they came from.

I was so proud of myself.  What an easy gift idea! Make a few copies, put them in sheet protectors in a three-ring binder, voila!  Done.

Um…not so fast.

I should have known better.  Food, its taste, its smell, has always been a potent invoker of memories for me.  I spent the better part of the day pulling out old recipe files and cookbooks.  Yes, there was the challenge of finding the specific ones my son wanted – some of these things I’ve made so often over the years I don’t even use the recipe anymore – but what really slowed me down was flipping through recipes I haven’t even thought of for years.

I remember that!  I loved that as a kid!  I loved that as a grownup!  Why haven’t I made that in the last ten years?!?  Many of the recipes that I found myself lingering over were the ones that brought back the best memories.

The sweet pickled veggies my mother would can every summer… the ones I made only once because, wow, that was a LOT of work!

The Mexican Chocolate Cake recipe I must have made a thousand times after I was first married… but haven’t even thought of for fifteen years.

The Peanut Butter Fudge recipe I spent at least five years begging my aunt to share with me.  I always looked forward to driving out to the country to visit her because I knew she’d have a big plate of that fudge waiting for me.  Just reading over the recipe, it’s like I’m back there in her kitchen, feeling that pit-of-the-stomach excitement of the day she finally relented to my years of pestering.  If I shut my eyes, I can see her round wooden table, polished to a shine.  I can hear her voice… smell the food cooking.  I loved that fudge… and I loved my aunt.

So many beautiful memories of special moments and special people.  And that’s really the most important part of the holidays, isn’t it?  Those special moments we’re making.  The special people we get to spend time with now and the ones we’ll always remember.

What about you?  Is there some special dish you haven’t made or tasted in years that takes you back to a wonderful memory of someone or something special?

Oh!  And while I’ve got you answering questions, are you a Recipe Sharer or a Recipe Secret-Keeper?

Leave a comment and Sandy will pick one lucky person to receive a copy of that book I’m supposed to be here talking about.  🙂

If you’d like to know more about Warrior’s Redemption, please stop by my website, where you can (if the web-gods have been kind) read an excerpt!

Wishing you all the Merriest Christmas ever, the happiest of holidays – and the best food memories ever!!!