I'm so excited, I can't sit still! As I write, a special package is winging its way to my grandmother Betty. Mamma, as we call her, will turn 102 years old next month--and while her body is frail, her mind and spirit are undiminished by the passage of the years.
Summer or not, she's going to receive a special holiday gift tomorrow.
Mamma has always been my homemaking inspiration; I treasure my collection of family recipes written in her own hand.
One such treat, Aunt Bill's Brown Candy, has been part of family holidays since before I can remember. As a child, I'd watch my parents work together to make our family's favorite sweet; by the time I reached my teens, I had taken over the candy-making chores--and to this day, Christmas isn't Christmas without the Aunt Bills!
A year or so ago, I was contacted by cookbook author Georgia Orcutt. Researching a cookbook of Christmas favorites from each American state, she was interested learning more about our family recipe.
By a wonderful coincidence, my grandmother and I had just had a lovely phone chat about her years as a young homemaker in the 1930's. Mamma explained that she'd gotten the Aunt Bill's recipe from a radio program in Oklahoma City, based around a personality named Aunt Susan. Who "Aunt Bill" was, no one knew--but now I knew where the recipe had originated.
The timing was perfect: Georgia loved the story of how the recipe had come into our family, and the place it has held in our celebration to this day.
Result: you can read all about it on page 84 of The All-American Christmas Cookbook: Family Favorites from Every State.
And since the entry for the state of Oklahoma begins the story with my grandmother's name, "Helen Betty Townley", I have every reason to believe there's going to be some squealing and hand-clapping in her home this weekend!
Mine, too. What a wonderful holiday tribute for our family's matriarch! Merry Early Christmas, Mamma!