Saturday, November 15, 2008

what scents remind you of the holidays?

for most people, the answer for thanksgiving scents would be food scents...pies baking, turkey roasting, gravy simmering...when i read today's post by guest blogger theresa loe, i realized that ..for me.. every holiday has a signature scent..and they are mostly food related. burgers and barbecue for the 4th of july...roast lamb for easter...cakes, cookies and pies for christmas...you get the idea.

theresa takes the concept one step further...reminding us that it's not just the food...it's the people celebrating the holiday with us that is most important..we know this..but sometimes a good reminder is just what we need...

i was thrilled when theresa agreed to guest blog for the napa farmhouse 1885™ thanksgiving memories series...we follow each other on twitter and..through that site...i discovered her beautiful blog garden fresh living...i urge you to check it out if..you like to garden...or...you want to like to garden...or...you want to learn about organic farming, organic gardening, organic cooking, buying organic...see where i am going with this?... you should just check out her blog...you will be so happy you did...theresa's bio is listed at the end of her post...but...just so you know...she authors a very cool calendar...the 2009 herbal calendar...here is a tip...get this calendar!!..for you or for a gift...

theresa..thank you so much for the post..i plan to share it with my mom....and thank her for everything she taught me about cooking and baking....thanks mom!

oh...regarding the cookie photo..i was reading this post while munching on some vegan ginger cookies made by my friends mary and terry...yes... mary and terry...the cookies are delicious...i describe them as cookies even a non vegan/non vegetarian would love. i thought their spicy ginger scent was really appropriate for this post...so..photo is posted...



Holiday Spices Evoke Thanksgiving Memories, By Theresa Loe

"They say that the sense of smell is closely tied to the memory portion of our brains. Various aromas can immediately take us back to recollections of our past. I’ve experienced the way a perfume will remind me of someone from long ago or how the aroma of certain foods reminds me of the kitchen from my childhood.

When I smell the spicy aroma of ginger, it immediately makes me think of holiday preparations as a little girl helping my mother make gingerbread. Growing up, our kitchen was a hustle and bustle of activity for weeks before Thanksgiving (and all the way through Christmas). The whole house was filled with the wonderful aromas of ginger, cinnamon and allspice.
My mom loves to bake and she passed that love on to me. As a little girl, I always had the important job of measuring these spices and stirring the ingredients when she was making something delicious. While other households only made pie, we were making gingerbread cake, gingerbread cookies, bread puddings and spicy pies with extra ginger and cinnamon.

During these baking sessions, I learned many important culinary trade secrets. But more importantly, I built a closeness with my mother that I don’t think we could have forged any other way. Baking gave us common ground for intimate mother/daughter talks and I soon realized that it was those moments in time I cherish the most. As a kid, you think you will grow up to remember the movies, toys, and games played with friends. But in reality, it is the unplanned moments with loved ones that touch our hearts and remain as snapshots in our memories. Having a strong fragrance like ground ginger associated with those snapshots creates an even stronger spot in our memory banks. For this reason, I do a lot of baking with my own children. I’m hoping to create new memory snapshots.

The close bonds my mother and I forged many years ago still exist between us today. No matter what differences we have had, we can always come together to share a recipe. It is no wonder that the smell of ginger reminds me of a warm, inviting kitchen filled with holiday sweets and my mother’s love!

Although most people only associate ground ginger with gingerbread, there are many other
wonderful ways to enjoy it during Thanksgiving. Below is a recipe for gingerbread cake that we like to make each year.

As we approach the hustle and bustle time of year, try to slow down and appreciate the fragrances and flavors of the holidays. Hopefully the spicy aromas will help you create some of your own wonderful fragrant memories this season."

Gingerbread Cake
This recipe is a spiced up version of traditional gingerbread cake. When you bake it, it fills your home with all the aromas of the holidays.

½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
½ cup hard-packed dark brown sugar
1 cup molasses
1 large egg
2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground coriander
1 cup boiling water
Whipped cream for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, beat together butter, brown sugar and molasses until creamy. Beat in the egg. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder baking soda and spices. Mix well. To the butter mixture, add the flour mixture alternately with the water, stirring well until combined. Pour into a greased 8-inch square baking pan. Bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool ten minutes before removing cake from pan. Set on wire rack to cool completely. Serve with whipped cream.
About Theresa....Theresa Loe gardens and cooks with her husband and two young boys in Southern California. She is also a locally syndicated newspaper garden columnist, author (The 2009 Herbal Calendar, Tidemark Press) and freelance writer specializing in utilizing fresh-from-the-garden ingredients for food and decorations in the home. She blogs at http://www.gardenfreshliving.com/ which is a place to learn about organic gardening and fun ways to bring the freshness of the garden into our everyday lives.
so today's question is....what scents remind you of the holidays?...please share your answers in the comments section of this post....and... as always during this series..happy thanksgiving everyone!
best,
diane
napa farmhouse 1885™
"live a green life of style"™
follow me on twitter

5 comments:

Fern @ Life on the Balcony said...

That recipe sounds delicious. I can just taste the wonderful combination of molasses and cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg.

Teresa R said...

The sense of smell is very powerful, and is why I love fragrances. Got the 2009 Herbal Calendar...it's fantastic! I highly recommend it!

I'll have to make the gingerbread cake for dh; he loves gingerbread anything. :)

p.s. you have the handsomest doggies!

napa farmhouse 1885 said...

thanks fern..and welcome..i cannot wait to try the recipe myself...pls let me know how you like the cake..

napa farmhouse 1885 said...

hi theresa..and welcome...yes, my dog gets all the compliments in our family...let me know what your husband thinks of the cake..

best,
diane

Cristina said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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