I’m a hugger. My whole family hugs. It’s how we’ve always been and how we always will be. When we see each other, we hug. It’s the first thing we do.
So when social-distancing became the norm in March, I didn’t think a whole lot about it. But as time went on, I realized that I was feeling a sense of sadness. I wasn’t able to hug my daughter at college, hug my Mom, my sisters or any of my friends. I realized that I needed to connect with my family, but couldn’t in person. I had to figure out an alternative. So what did I do? I turned to my family traditions to fill the void of an embrace.
Growing up, we would go to my Grandmother’s house many Sundays for dinner. It wouldn’t only be my immediate family, but many aunts, uncles and cousins. All of us running around outside her house and around her rose garden. I remember all of it, but what I remember most is my Grandmother making egg noodles.
I helped her make egg noodles from scratch dozens and dozens of times. We would have to run the dough sheets through the pasta machine over and over and over until they were just the right thickness. Then we would run them through the slicer which would create the noodles themselves. To let them dry, she would lay out sheets on the beds, on the sofa, and everywhere else you can imagine. We would toss them onto the sheets with flour to keep them from sticking together. Once they dried, she would pull 15 old bread bags that she had saved and would fill them with the egg noodles to put into the pantry. I remember at the time it was fun at first, then felt like a chore. Now, it’s one of the memories I hold dearest to my heart, and I’d give anything to be able to make egg noodles one more time with her.
To me, baking and cooking is a tradition that my Grandmother passed down, my Mother passed down, and now I’m passing it down to my kids. But it’s not just the cooking or baking, it’s sharing these traditions with my own daughters to make sure that these recipes continue on in the family.
While we aren’t able to hug each other in person, I feel like I’m connecting with my family by making old family recipes for dinner. Sometimes my clothes, all the countertops and the floor are covered in flour. I don’t consider it a mess…….I consider it a bit of a family reunion of sorts. It brings back memories that make me smile. And while we didn’t grow up financially wealthy, I’d say we grew up rich in a very different way.
So if you’re feeling a little bit like you need a hug from your Mom, go to the kitchen and make some of your family recipes. It’s one step closer to feeling like you’ve wrapped your arms around a loved one.