Posted by on Nov 30, 2006 in Uncategorized

Family Food Traditions

The holiday season helps bring families together geographically. I like to think that memories are what brings us together emotionally. Research has indicated that your sense of smell triggers the most memories. Therefore, we must inspire these senses by having food traditions in order to provoke emotional bonding with our loved ones.

Families have followed these simple guidelines for happy holiday rituals for centuries. It is at this time of year we can reflect on all the previous years that bring us to where we are today.

These memories make us laugh and they make us cry. Some remind us of joyous accomplishments, difficult times that we overcame and also those who went before us.

In my family, we have many people to remember this time of year. And one way that I like to remember them is to not only talk about them but to recreate their food traditions (after all, our sense of smell will help kick start those memories).

I would like to begin this season of Family Food Traditions with my Grandma Wright’s chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing (I never said these traditions have to be extravagant).

My Grandma kept most of her recipes in her head, which I can unfortunately not thumb through today. This has forced me to re-create the dishes as best I can. I’ll begin with a chocolate cake recipe from Betty (no, not Betty Crocker, but just as good).

Bring to a boil: 1 stick of butter
1 c. water
4 T. Cocoa
1/2 c. shortening

Add to this mixture: 2 c. flour
2 c. sugar

Then add: 2 eggs, 1 t. baking soda, 1/2 c. buttermilk, and 1 t. vanilla. Mix all well. Bake at 350 for about 30 min. or until a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean.

And now for the kicker:
I’m learning that the peanut butter frosting is more like a peanut butter with a little frosting than most frostings with a little peanut butter. I begin by spooning out an entire jar of peanut butter into a large bowl.

I use natural peanut butter on nearly everything, but since refrigerating cupcakes is a little absurd, this is one instance when regular peanut butter works better. Add to the peanut butter 2 T. milk to get it very smooth. Now add powdered sugar and more milk until it is the consistency you desire. I used a little more than I would have liked to, so remember its easier to add more than to subtract once it’s mixed ;)

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