Yesterday was my maternal grandma's birthday anniversary. She lived to be 94, and though she's been gone 14 years, I still think of her often.
She taught my sister and me to play Spoons and Old Maid. When she went shopping, she'd always bring us some little something -- a toy, a scarf, or a book. She delighted in her grandchildren, and like a true grandma spoiled us as much as she could.
This time of year I always think about her culinary talents. The kitchen is where she shined. She made everything from scratch -- from lemonade to chocolate cake. She was, in fact, rather famous for her chocolate cake. She took that cake to every pot luck dinner she ever attended. At one point, she decided maybe people were tired of it, so she switched to a different recipe. It wasn't long before others were asking, "Where's Stella's chocolate cake?"
She was always in charge of the pies at Thanksgiving, and while I have her recipes, I can never quite duplicate the taste of these pastries. Part of the problem stems from her measurements: one heaping spoonful of flour. Spoon refers to a serving spoon, and heaping means "not level, but not too much either." She always had just the right amount; just the right touch.
I'll make a pumpkin pie for Thursday, and it will taste good. It just won't be as good as grandma's.