Here’s a heartwarmer for you, with a bit of background…
My husband and I were married in March 2014 by a lovely woman I’ll call “Lena” who runs a business for personalized wedding ceremonies. During the planning process, Lena and I bonded over a mutual knowledge of EHell, and her daughter was a devotee of your book and your website before her passing at a young age. We remained friends after the wedding, getting together for coffee or dinner.
In the time between our wedding and the holidays, Lena’s father passed away, leaving Lena as the eldest and executor, to clear out the house and handle the estate, as her mother had died some years before. Part of this also involved moving Lena’s brother, “Billy” into her home. Billy was born with certain mental disabilities; he’s a very sweet man and very polite, but cannot live on his own. Poor Lena had little help from her other two siblings, but did her best to accommodate Billy’s needs.
After Thanksgiving, but before Christmas, we once again had the opportunity to have dinner with Lena and Billy at Lena’s home. While we were at my parents’ home for Thanksgiving, my mother had given us several sticks of a nut roll pastry she called “kolachi,” which she makes every year for the holidays based on her Eastern European stepmother’s recipe. When attending the dinner, in addition to a bottle of wine for Lena, we brought some kolachi for them to enjoy. When we explained what the aluminum wrapped item was, Lena began to cry. It seems her mother, many years ago, made a nut roll pastry EXACTLY like this one, called “Kolach”. Unfortunately, since her death, no one could find the recipe. Lena and her siblings had not felt much like celebrating Christmas this year, due to the loss of their father, the reminders of both the loss of their mother and Lena’s daughter in prior years, and the stress of taking care of Billy. However, with our unexpected gift of Kolach, she called her sister the next day, and the two of them, with Billy, had a lovely Christmas morning of memories enjoying the pastry.
My mother has subsequently provided Lena with a copy of the recipe, and every time we see Lena and Billy (regardless of the time of year), my husband and I receive a hug from Billy coupled with a hopeful, “Did you bring more Kolach? Are you staying for Christmas?” It’s the unexpected ways we touch each others lives that really make the holidays special! 1008-15
Lovely. It’s amazing how food plays such a crucial role in memories and relationships. I really believe God orchestrates these little serendipity events because sometimes it’s the small things that can bring the biggest blessings. I had a similar experience many years ago when, on a Usenet cooking group, a man asked if anyone had an old onion and sage stuffing recipe. His mother had died ten years earlier and taken the recipe in her head to the grave. I had my mother’s recipe that I had fastidiously copied while she made it when I was 12 and emailed it to him. He contacted me after Thanksgiving that year saying how he and his father had sat at the table with tears streaming down their faces tasting the exact same recipe they remembered but they had not had in over a decade. Who would have guessed that sharing a recipe could bring such joy?
Anyone else have a story of sharing a recipe that brought joy to someone else? Share that recipe here!
Jeanne’s Vintage Sage, Onion and Celery Stuffing Recipe
30-oz. or 16 cups unspiced bread crumbs
5 cups water with 1 cup butter-melt together
2 cups frozen chopped onions
5 stalks celery (2cups) chopped
6 bread slices ripped up
1 1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp + 1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 1/2 tsp. Marjoram
1/2 tsp. Sage
1/2 tsp. thyme
Do not stuff turkey the night before, stuff the day you are cooking turkey. Any stuffing left over from stuffing the turkey can be placed in loaf pans and baked with turkey. Later in the week, this leftover stuffing can be sliced and reheated in turkey gravy.
Can also be cooked in a crockpot: Butter sides of crockpot and put stuffing in. Cover and cook for one hour on high (300 degrees). Reduce the heat to low (200 degrees) and slow-cook until heated through, 3 to 4 hours.