I have my grandmother's hands. Not my mother's pretty little hands...but my beloved grandmother's hands. They are strong, bent with arthritis, a few scars. Mostly they are a reminder of the wonderful grandmother that I had. I can make chicken N dumplings just the way she did. It brings such good memories of her when I am cooking or baking one of her recipes.
She had all the recipes in her head. So one summer, while I was in college, I ask her to help write down her recipes. It was a pinch of this and a dash of that with enough flour added one cup at a time until it would pull away from the bowl. Pour salt into your cupped palm which equaled one and a half teaspoons of salt. This all sounded Greek to me, but in that summer afternoon, we made a wonderful connection. The attic fan blew in a breeze while we sipped fresh lemonaide.
Granddaughter and grandmother for one precious long hot summer day carefully measured the ingredients and I wrote the measured amounts down. I remember as a young girl helping her roll out the dumplings and how special I felt in that she had confidence in me to roll them just right. You know a lot of lessons can be gleaned from cooking together. Mostly I learned that summer how much love goes into those recipes, how you could not rush the boil of the stock. You added one dumpling at a time so they would not stick together. How much tender care was taken to present the best meal for my Pawpaw. The handing down of a family recipe to a granddaughter was one of the most memorable times we spent together. I treasured that day as well as other special memories with grandmother.
When my sons were young, we pulled up a chair and they would help me roll out the dumplings. I still remember it well, flour everywhere and cutting out the dumplings to let them rise. In that moment I felt like grandmother was there with us and giggling along with us. It was a magical moment.
Yes, I have hands like my grandmother...with callouses, broken nails, a splinter or two, and hands that garden too. My hands paint shudders, arrange flowers and make dumplings. Occassionally, I get them manicured, but then I work with my hands. So they never stay too neat for very long. I am proud of these hands because they remind me of her. She is with me always and never far from my heart.