Sunday, May 30, 2010


My most very vivid childhood memories involve being at my grandmother's house. Every Sunday we had soup at her table and whichever of her sons and their families were available would attend. Every season brought with it a special food that she would make. Whether it was her special fried chicken, or her pierogies, she made enough to feed everbody and then some. I loved it when she made cookies, especially at the holidays: nut rolls, flaky "nothing cookies" and her famous thumbprints. When I got old enough to help, she allowed me to mix up the food coloring for the icing. Until then she had always gone with the standard blue, red or yellow. Once I got a hold of the colors, there was no limit to the color combinations. I also remember her baking pies after we had gone out to pick the raspberries, or cakes for birthdays. But my favorite were her gobs (better known as whoopie pies.) These were made on a whim, for no real occasion except that she felt we needed a little sweet treat to eat. And now that I have a brand new cookbook devoted to variations of this dessert, I'm on my way to following her example. Methinks this is the sweetest idea of all - though others would argue that licking the beater is truly the sweetest part.

Tal is afraid of bees. Which is the only reason I have no bee hives. I'm pretty sure deep inside this housewifish exterior stirs a born bee keeper, a bee whisperer, a person who really likes honey. But Tallis got stung on the back of the neck three summers ago and he is still sure all bees are out to get him. Whenever I (delicately) bring up the topic of bee hives in our yard he turns pale and shakes his head vigorously, as if trying to shake off the bees he knows are milling around his ears waiting for a lowered guard. So I'll wait for my bee hives. A month ago Tal took his first swimming lesson - another fear - and spent most of the half hour clinging to the side of the pool looking up at me with tears and frowns. Now he hops into the water like a skinny merboy. Someday he will brush bees, blackflies and mosquitoes from his hair with studied casualness. Children are required to brave about so many things - I'll let him nurture this fear for a little while longer. And until I get my own stack of bee condos, I'll gratefully accept gifts of honey from friends, honey made all the sweeter by sentiment.


  1. That is sweet! My folks kept bees when I was a child. Nothing like chewing on a honeycomb. I like your comment about letting kids nuture a fear. It's good to be reminded of that. Being pushy about stuff like that rarely works. It didn't work for me when I was a kid, that was for sure.

  2. I'll never forget Tallis on the phone when I was inviting him to come with me to the Buffington's to help Jamie's with his new hive. After a few minutes of back and forth about it, he calmly and firmly said "Dad, I'll get used to them when they come to live at our house." Yes, dear heart. That'll be soon enough.