In celebration of Mother’s Day, we asked Wilton employees to share some special memories and stories. For many of us, our moms – or someone who is like a mom to us – piqued our interest in baking. Who did you learn from? What special memories do you have? Or, are you a mom who enjoys baking with her kids? In this series, we will feature a different story each day. We hope you enjoy reading the stories of those who chose to share their MOMent!
My earliest memory in the kitchen strangely does not involve my mom at all… 3 ½ year old me pushing a kitchen chair over to the counter, climbing on top to teach my dad how to make microwave cheese eggs. (The thirty-something me now cringes at the thought of eating one.) My mom was in the hospital having my baby brother Michael; her absence very much so missed, the peculiarity of the situation burned on my memory.
My mom was (and is) the center of our family. The kitchen, the lovely center of our house, her domain. She is the best cook, in my humble opinion, whipping up anything from Pasta Puttanesca to Rouladen with ease. And she is a fantastic baker to boot. Her Christmas cookies always blow everyone else’s out of the water. This proves true during our annual cookie exchange and each year seems better than the last, somehow. (Yes, we are the people that spend an entire weekend+ making at least a dozen different kinds of cookies to share over the holidays!)
Perhaps my mom was absent from my first cooking memory but all that follow include her – even when she physically was not present. When I was first married, I lived in Germany a short while with my new husband, he being enlisted and stationed overseas. I cooked dinner nearly every weeknight and prepared tasty treats (forget the Freshman 15, try the Newlywed 15!). I would ring her for advice or later call her to tell her what new dish I attempted. The love of food and sharing that with family and friends had been passed to the next generation.
Now that I have kids, it makes sense that it is now them climbing up on to the counter to help. My husband and I are lucky to have parents living nearby that are so involved in our lives and home. After a busy morning of running around and playing, while the baby is taking his afternoon nap, my 4 year old daughter Elizabeth and my mom, Victoria (AKA Nana), will sit down to watch a cooking show on TV together. Inspired, they will hop into the kitchen and work on dinner or dessert which is always a welcome surprise when I get home from work. Elizabeth recently impressed my mom with her egg cracking skills!
Although it is months away I am already looking forward to this holiday season; with Elizabeth a little older, she will be able to join in on the baking extravaganza. We will continue the time honored tradition of sore feet and backs, mounds of dishes, flour covered floors and most importantly, laughter and the sharing of both food and memories. And before I know it little Ethan will be joining the ranks too! If I end up being half the cook and woman my mom, is I will count myself lucky.
My parents always tell me that when I was young I loved to chew on green onions. “Who gives a toddler green onions to chew on in the first place?!” I always respond! My baba [grandma in Ukrainian] told the story that my mom liked to gnaw on pieces of coal – again and even worse, who lets a baby chew on coal?! In her defense, she was from the old country and believed that the baby wouldn’t be eating the coal unless her body craved or needed something from it. I could write a whole blog just about her quirks!
In my case, Elizabeth loved sucking on lemons as a baby. She would pucker up her face seemingly turned off then reach for more. It only makes sense that her favorite drink is lemonade and she loves the family favorite ‘Lemon Poppy Seed Cake’. The three generations recently got together to make this delicious cake and fun was had by all! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.
To Mom/Nana, Mom/Grandma, Aunt Steph, Jenn, Lala, Aunt Jane, Aunt Monica, Emily, Lauren, Kristin, Rebecca and all the other woman in my life: Happy Mother’s Day!
Lemon Poppyseed Cake
¼ c poppy seeds
¼ c milk
1 lemon supreme cake mix
1 – 3 oz instant vanilla pudding
½ c salad oil
1 c warm water
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp lemon juice
6+ tbsp icing sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Soak seeds in milk. Mix together cake mix, pudding, eggs, oil & water. Add seed mixture. Grease & flour Bundt pan. Pour in in 1/3 of cake mix. Sprinkle ½ of spice mixture over top. Repeat. Top with balance of cake mix.
Bake for 1 hour. Turn cake out. Drizzle with glaze while still warm.