Happy holidays, friends!
The leaves have turned and the temperature has cooled, but our hearts, homes, hearths, and ovens have started to warm. It is time for the holidays! When you think of the holidays, what comes to your mind? Family? Love? Snow? Christmas? Gifts? Vacation time (aka: quality time together)? Maybe a little bit of stress? Joy? Decorations?
There are several of these that ring true for me, but often more than many emotional recollections, I have sensory ones that rule the roost. I think of baking and decorating pumpkin cookies with my family, eating and trading too much Halloween candy with siblings, drinking apple cider at the light shows in town, the smell of pasta sauce cooking at my grandmother’s house (because apparently that is how some Italians do Thanksgiving... who needs turkey? Haha), and the smell of bacon and cinnamon muffins wafting through the air on Christmas morning. There are so many priceless memories and moments that I can immediately think back on from my lifetime that can be tied back to the tastes and smells of home.
When I moved into my first house, my mom gave me a unique housewarming gift: a hand-painted ceramic rooster. The rooster is beautiful and special because my mom gave her to me, but it is the meaning that she attached to it that made the largest impact. She told me that every good Italian kitchen should have a rooster. Hilarious? Maybe. True? Probably not. Meaningful? Absolutely!
I truly believe that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It is a place to gather, love, dance, and grow; a place for people to visit, and hearts and souls to be warmed.
Yes, the holidays might bring stresses, but overall, they bring memories, and whether we like it or not, so many of those start in our kitchen. I believe that cooking and baking for family and friends is one of the most honest acts of love one can perform, so this holiday, let us be sure to season the season with a bit more of it. Whether you are baking an apple pie, making Christmas breakfast, or just adding a little sugar or spice to your coffee or cider, be sure to season everything with a little extra love, because when we look back, I have found that it makes all the difference.
Every day, Spread Love.
Mary Grace Schmidt Gwin