Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ironically, I just realized today that my maternal grandmother and Julia Child were born in the same year - 1912.

My husband called me from work saying he had noticed it would have been Child's 100th birthday today. She died Aug. 13, 2004, in California. The internet is a flurry today of blog posts, stories and even a Google icon recognizing Child.

My Grandma, Christina, actually did celebrate her 100th birthday on Aug. 3 at home in Nebraska. Friends and family members honored her with a small get-together two weekends ago. She's still hanging in there, but sadly, she seems to slip farther and farther away from us every day.

As much as I've loved reading about Child, watching her on old PBS episodes and cooking through her cookbooks over the years, both my grandmothers had a heavy influence on my professional pastry chef career. Just simple grandmas - not someone famous.

Grandma Christina lived less than a mile from where I grew up in Nebraska, so I often spent time with her. I loved playing in the garden with her, making mud pies and flower soup and wandering around flowers that were bigger than me at the time.
1976 - Grandma Christina and me in Nebraska.

We picked cherries, peaches, red currants, pears and apples together. And I remember several sweltering summers helping out in the kitchen with canning jars and making preserves and canned fruit for the winter.

Grandma Christina used to make these simple sweet biscuits for us from refrigerated biscuit dough. She would dredge the cold biscuits in a cinnamon-sugar mixture, and then I got to help put the maraschino cherry on top. It's really the simple things you remember about a loved one as you get older yourself.

While I can learn French cooking techniques from Child out of a cookbook, nothing beats the simple life experiences with someone special.

So happy birthday Julia! But most importantly, happy birthday to my Grandma!
2008 - Grandma and me while I was home for Christmas in Nebraska.

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Alan said...

. . a lovely post that brought a smile to my face - 'Cheers, Granny! Happy Birthday!'

jaz@octoberfarm said...

awwww...what a sweet birthday wish for your grandma. i never had a grandmother but have always imagined how special having one would be.

Joy said...

@Thanks Alan! I can only hope to live as long as Grandma has.

@Joyce, thank you! Grandmothers definitely hold a special place, even more than mothers, sometimes I must admit. :-)

BacktoBodrum said...

A very Happy Birthday to your Grandma. May you share her wonderfully long living genes.

Joy said...

@BacktoBodrum, thanks for the kind message. Yes, I hope to live a long life and have many adventures with my hubby.

Unknown said...

Such a lovely post.

Ozlem's Turkish Table said...

What a sweet post Joy, happy birthday to your Grandma - such precious memories to remember, they're the best:)

Karen said...

A lovely post! Nebraska living must be healthy.

Joy said...

@Julia, Ozlem and Karen, thank you! You know that's what growing up on a farm in Nebraska does for you. My grandma worked hard for 70+ years of her life on the farm or in her garden. :-)

Dolce Fooda said...

How cute!

Joy said...

@Dolce Fooda, thank you!