A Pinch of Love

I can still remember watching her in the kitchen. Counter-tops overflowing with ingredients, a light dusting of flour as an added touch on sleeves and hands.

My grandmother’s kitchen on the day before Thanksgiving turned into a pie factory of sorts. Thanksgiving meals spent at her home always involved days of cooking, way too many side dishes, and incredible food saved for this one special day each year. A true Southern lady, she was never without extra food to offer you, just in case you were hungry.

I’ll just make something simple.

And oh, the pies.

As a child, I remember there seemed to be at least five different kinds of pie. She baked her pies not from a recipe, but from memory and feel. A handful of that, a pinch of this, she just had that feeling for when a recipe was just right. A gift that I did not inherit.

Her pecan pies were especially sinful, and I saved room for a slice every time we visited for the holidays.

She was in her element on Thanksgiving; putting everything she had and an added pinch of love into the entire meal.

When she passed away eighteen years ago, I was just starting to grow my own family. So exhausted on the plane trip back from her funeral, I didn’t even realize yet that I was pregnant.

My grandmother’s pie recipes were gone. Gone because they were never really written down, but conjured with a pinch of love and a handful of hope.

When my mom brought some of my grandmother’s things back home, I was hesitant to take anything at first. I had my memories of her, and certainly having some of her things wouldn’t make those memories any stronger.

Then I saw the stack of glass pie pans.

Deep dish, fluted, eight-inch, nine-inch, every variation you could imagine.

Eighteen years later, I am still baking pies in those pans. My grandmother’s instincts for just another pinch or just a bit more flour have slowly started to kick in to my too-logical brain.

My daughter by my side this year; rolling crusts and mixing ingredients, filling the house with the smells I remember.

My grandmother right there with us.

And herĀ recipes aren’t gone after all.


Wondering what brings my son home from college for Thanksgiving? To find out go read my post over at Moonfrye today, where I spill the beans on traditions and what really seems to matter to those kids we’re raising.

Giving Thanks

Have you ever been thankful….

  • that you made it to the hospital in time? Before it was too late?
  • for the faint, pink line on the little plastic stick?
  • for the skinned knee, since it brings a chance to hug and heal?
  • for the plastic Lego you stepped on, because it meant someone was having fun?
  • for the people in your life who have become like family?
  • to hear the quietness of your home in the middle of the night, even though you couldn’t sleep?
  • that you drove miles and miles to be there, because you knew you needed to be?
  • that you remembered to tell someone you loved them? Before it was too late?
  • that little girls who aren’t so little can still get excited about a new Christmas dress?
  • for the socks on the floor, because soon they won’t be there anymore?
  • that the wonderful man next to you is snoring, because it means he’s alive and home?
  • for the dinner you ruined, because it gave you a chance to show your children that failure isn’t lethal?
  • for the wisdom of the little ones in your life?
  • for the lines on your face, made with years of smiles and laughter?
  • for yourself, and what you bring to the lives of others?

This week, think of what you are thankful for, and pass it along. It just might mean the world to someone.