I dropped a spoonful of potato pancake batter into the hot cast iron frying pan and smiled as it made it's satisfying SSSssss-sizzle-spit.
"Just like Grandma would do it," I thought to myself as I made dinner last night, and smiled at the memories this simple meal brought back. Suddenly I was transported to my parents' house in Windsor in my early teens. Grandma and Grandpa would be visiting from Waterloo and as they often did, were making dinner. Tonight it was potato pancakes. Grandpa would have been in charge of putting the potatoes and onions through the grater, while Grandma heated up the frying pans and mixed the batter, frying it into crispy golden patties of perfection. Plates piled high with pancakes would be in the oven keeping warm by the time we all sat down to eat. But Grandma would stay at the stove for a while yet. Those pancakes were so good, there had to be a continuing supply for a very long time and she would wait until everyone else was well supplied before she would sit down to eat.
I would always eat the first potato pancakes with ketchup, saving the applesauce and maple syrup to have the last one or two "for dessert". I can remember Grandma saying we couldn't have milk with this meal. (But we always had milk - and all we could drink.) But the potato pancakes would sit too heavy in our stomachs if we drank milk with them, she would say, and so even the children had tea instead. I can still hear her voice passing on the secrets that would ensure the potato pancakes of the next generation would turn out just as perfect. And I heard it tonight as I prepared them in my own kitchen more than 40 years later.
It's amazing how certain foods and smells can evoke such memories. With the first bite of a perfectly ripe banana, I am always at Grandma and Grandpa's house in Waterloo, having breakfast. Turkey dinner and, I can see my dad bending over to open the oven door and fussing over its contents. The taste of lemon meringue pie takes me back to Sunday dinners at my mother-in-law's. Ripe red raspberries and I am with Grandpa Cook and Aunt Edith on the farm.
I can associate some kind of food with almost everyone I know very well at all. Frances is orange cake with glazed frosting. Angela is gingerbread topped with whipped cream. Sister Brenda is chicken/broccoli casserole and chocolate coconut cookies (we call them "mud pies" at our house). Aunt Beth is blueberry bran muffins, Grandma Charlotte is angel cookies and gingersnaps, and my mom is shnitz pie and fried eggs. (Fried eggs? Yup. She had one every morning for breakfast and we had some very deep fellowship over our morning eggs bytimes.) Belinda is Yorkshire puddings with gravy, and nasi goreng, and of course, the best apple pie ever.
I smile when I think about some of the the foods that will evoke these kinds of memories in today's children. Will their hearts be stirred by the fragrance of Timbits? And - crazy thought - what if McDonald's ever goes out of business? Will some of our grandchildren's memories go down the tubes with them?
John 6:35: And, Jesus said unto them, "I am the bread of life:He that cometh to me, shall never hunger..."
On this past Sunday right after church, Frances stopped to talk with me at the luncheon we were having downstairs. I'm sure she had no idea at the time, but the words she shared touched me deeply and were exactly what I needed to hear. It was almost as if she had been listening in to my prayer time that morning. I had to call her the next day, just to say, "You brought Jesus to me, you know."
When Frances started talking - speaking the truth in love - I could smell the Bread of Life. What she talked about and her approach made me think of Jesus - and it took me right back to Him.