Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Baking with the Grands

What are the holidays without cookies and other assorted treats? In my family, baking is a ritual that brings good cheer and aromatic scents. Over the years, it became a holiday tradition passed on from one generation to another. 

The art of baking started in my Nonnie's kitchen. She was who must have taught my mother although I never asked when that happened. My mother, in turn, shared her passion for baking apple turnovers, pies, and other treats and decorating cakes with my sister and me. My own children learned how to bake from their grandmother and me. Now, my daughter and I have passed on the family baking tradition and stories from the past to our sweet little girls. 

As I continue the ritual of baking this December, I stand in my grand kitchen in Virginia ready to bring back the spirit of Christmas love. I remember Nonnie's loving hands kneading dough in her small white kitchen with an old-fashioned gas stove in Rome, New York. This is where my baking journey started and continued in my mother's kitchen in Syracuse, New York. When I married, I moved to Long Island to my husband's apartment on the beach. My desire to bake was rekindled when we bought our first home. My children learned in my remodeled kitchen and now my little grandgirls are learning in my large kitchen stocked with  my Nonnie's and mother's tools. 

For a moment, I pause and remember my journey that started many years ago. Nonnie's kitchen always had a huge breadboard and a large rolling pin waiting on the table for me when I stayed with her each summer. Flour was nearby so Nonnie could sprinkle the board with flour that fell like fairy dust from her capable hands. On winter days, the powdered sugar looked like fresh snow dancing in the air. I watched and learned from Nonnie as little mounds of dough plopped onto the board and into the gas oven. Staring with wide eyes, I waited patiently for the spatula to be passed to me for a delicious lick. Honey dolls, chocolate mounds, and sweet icing were crafted with loving hands before my eyes on that breadboard. 

Last Saturday while at my daughter's house, I shared a similar experience with my little grandgirls. It started with a welcoming invitation from my daughter. "Who wants to bake with Grandma?" While the ingredients for chocolate cupcakes were being set up, Sierra and Aurora rushed to bring their stepstools close to the kitchen counter. It was their turn to become involved with the ritual of baking. The eggs were dipped in warm water, waiting to be gently cracked by my five-year-old grandgirl. The procedure was seamless; each one politely turn their turn. The magic began. Unfortunately, we had to leave before the cupcakes were placed in the oven. I left with a smile hoping the little grands would tell stories of the times they learned how to bake in Grandma's and their mother's kitchens.


This afternoon I prepared a treat for a ladies-only holiday gift exchange. After a long, community meeting and a quick nap, I wake to the memory of baking with the women in the family, I smile and create a tricube poem. Perhaps, one day my little girls will remember our baking days.

bake a tin
of cookie
treats to eat

add sprinkles
Christmas cheer

my journey
-baking joy-
©CVarsalona, 2022


While I fell asleep once again before finishing my slice, I enjoyed remembering where I learned to bake. I am now joining Two Writing Teachers with a short snippet on my Slice of Life memory.


  1. Carol, how wonderful that you're passing along the baking tradition to your grandchildren! I love thinking about all the ingredients that have gone into the holiday baking tradition in my own family. My daughters love to bake and someday I hope to have grandchildren to teach as well. Such a heart-warming post, and I can almost smell those cookies!

    1. Molly, it is wonderful that you also believe in the holiday baking tradition. It is such a heart-warming experience as recipes or techniques get passed from generation to another.

  2. Carol, this is a great tradition. How else will children learn if not shown? And how else will they develop a love of something without seeing the adults in their lives doing and enjoying the activity. I think there is a special bond that is formed in the kitchen that lasts a lifetime.