Memory: The Start of a Family Tradtion

In late January of 1966, Central New York was hit with an epic blizzard that shut the area down for days. Here’s a link to some photos taken at the time.

I grew up in a rural area. My aunt, uncle and four cousins lived next door on one side, my grandmother and step-grandfather lived on the other side of us. My uncle and dad couldn’t get to their jobs, so there was lots of family time between efforts to dig out.  Here’s  a photo  of  my  dad  on  the  1934 Ford tractor  and  my  Grandpa  Jim  working  on clearing away  the snow.

It was during the blizzard that two of my family traditions began.

My parents pulled out the flour, sugar, eggs, and such and went on a baking spree. We worked together as a family. I recall my mom unearthing a cookie press she’d never used, finding a recipe for chocolate spritz cookies and using the cookie press to make them. They were wonderful. A pain to make compared to mom’s usual cookies (and my mom baked great cookies!), but worth the effort. And yes, my dad was also involved in the bake-fest.

The first lesson I learned was to always make sure there is a stockpile of food in the house come winter. Ingredients and basics. It’s a lesson I had to remind my son of when he moved out on his own. Even if you keep only cans of soup in the cupboard, make sure you have something to eat. You never know when a storm is going to hit. Which is why you’ll never find me out on the night before a predicted storm scrounging for bread and milk.  I’m always prepared.

The second lesson is that baking together during a snowstorm makes wonderful memories. Now, I didn’t often get to take snow days with my children, but the times I did, we pulled out a box or two of quick bread mix (I am not my mom) and baked together. I used the time to teach them fractions (if the recipe calls for half a cup, how many quarter cups should you use?) and other life skills. Plus we were spending time together. That was the important thing.

I hope their memories are as nice as mine.