Every single year, I would make it a personal mission to find, shake and tear little holes in the holiday paper that my mother so lovingly covered all of my brother’s and my gifts with. On Christmas Eve, when we opened all of our gifts, I would fake surprise as I opened American Girl accessories and a shiny new pair of rollerblades. Patience has never been my most admirable trait.
Since presents were opened on Christmas Eve, Christmas morning was reserved for food. Every single year while I was growing up, my mother made the most delicious Swedish pancakes and served them with homemade strawberry sauce and vanilla ice cream. It always felt so rebellious to eat dessert for breakfast, and I would melt my ice cream with my strawberry sauce to form perfect puddles of bright pink all over my Christmas plate.
A few weeks ago, I visited my grandparents in Wisconsin and while I was sipping tea at their breakfast table, my grandma asked me if mom still makes the Swedish pancakes. No, I said. After my little brother passed away three years ago and I moved out West, Christmases are different. Grandma put her hand on my shoulder and I could see her eyes misty with tears. She loved my brother so much and I can’t even imagine what it must be like for a grandparent to lose a grandson so young. Well, she said, I hope someday you carry on the tradition of the Swedish pancakes when you have children. I assured her that I would. Someday.
I recently heard someone say that you never remember the gifts you receive but you always remember the memories, and it’s true. All those years of present hunting and I don’t remember a single gift that was opened. What I do remember is this: mom flipping Swedish pancakes in the kitchen while we all waited with our plates in hand. The perfect combination of strawberry sauce and ice cream pooling together. My brother racing through my grandparent’s house and belly flopping in the snow outside.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours!
Jenna Weber is half of the Fresh Tastes blog team. She graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in 2008 and, since then, has worked as a pastry chef, bread baker and freelance food editor. Currently, Jenna blogs full-time on EatLiveRun.com where her delicious daily recipes and quirky culinary musings appeal to thousands. She lives in Northern California and, when not in the kitchen, can usually be found on her yoga mat.