Thanksgiving preparations have already begun in full force around my house. My parents who live in Wisconsin will arrive late Wednesday evening and my kids only have school Monday and Tuesday this week so I decided I better get what I could done this weekend. With my parents, our next door neighbors and another family of long time friends, we will have 12 for dinner on Thursday. My 10 year old son was interested in helping in the kitchen today and I have to admit, I couldn’t stop thinking about how thankful I was that we could spend this bit of special time together.
Thanksgiving has become my holiday. Most of our family lives in Wisconsin and we always go there for Christmas so we have come accustomed to hosting the meal at our house each year. Sometimes we have family join us and other times our table is full of friends. This year it will be both.
Thanksgiving was also my grandma’s holiday. She hosted it every year until about 10 years ago when it started to become too much for her. She would start preparing at least a full week ahead of time, maybe more. Here table would be neatly covered with her best table cloth and she would start making lists. When we would arrive on Thanksgiving day, my cousins and I would each find our name on a list with a job. One of us might be in charge of setting the fine silverware which lived in the special box that came out once a year. Another might have the task of mashing the potatoes. She was always so organized and she managed to pull off a picture perfect meal every year for our group of 11-14 (depending on the number of boyfriends present).
One staple of our Thanksgiving meal was always Grandma’s Breckel Torte. This is an old German dessert. It’s basically a chewy, nutty version of strawberry short cake. My Grandma made it every year and it was always a favorite. I can’t help but think about the year when someone dropped glass and it broke into the Breckel Torte. My devout Lutheran Grandma yelled a quick 4 letter word and made it a holiday we would never forget. It just meant that much to her.
This morning when I started looking through my recipe book, I found the recipe for Breckel Torte that she mailed to me in 2011. It said, “Ali, your mom had told me you wanted my Breckel Torte recipe, and I meant to enclose it with your birthday card, but didn’t so here it is. I’ve been making it for 60+ years and my sister-in-law made it many years before that. So enjoy & think of us every time you make it !!!” I started to cry on the inside. My Grandma passed away two years ago and this is only our second Thanksgiving without her. She was such a special lady and I will treasure this hand written recipe and note from her. I will pass it down to my children and grandchildren. It just made me think that this is really what holidays are about.
So I wanted to share this special recipe from my Grandma Luella with you. I promise you it is delicious and it will have a special place at our Thanksgiving table this year.