Thursday, December 9, 2010

Giddy's Christmas Bread

For any and all who knew and loved our grandmother she was affectionately called "Giddy"; nicknamed by my brother when he was a toddler. She was the cog keeping us together; as strong a woman as I've ever known.She defined the power of a woman way before it became a cliche.Cook, baker, homemaker, mother, wife, garden tender, sewer, crocheter, rug maker-the list goes on defining this French-Canadian woman with high cheek bones and waist-length hair wrapped up in hair combs on top of her head.

When I think Of Giddy this time of year it is her Christmas bread that fills my heart. The aroma-the texture-the taste remain in my memory of Christmases when we'd gather together out in the country. I can still see her in her kitchen with an apron around her and her strong hands stirring and folding; a few wisps of hair out of place as she works the dough just where it needs to be. She never measured her ingredients. She didn't have fancy appliances or a multitude of tv chefs telling her what to do. She was the chef in her farmhouse kitchen kneading the bread for the holidays; folding in the fruits and nuts and raisins and then baking the loaves in her woodstove as outside the snow fell and inside the wonder of Christmas approaching filled every room of that old homestead.

Of course the proof is in the pudding as they say. Sitting down to enjoy the bread was more than a delight-it was tradition. Many times as we'd gather to talk and eat while nipping away at a loaf with a slice here and a slice there,the bread simply would be devoured in minutes! Of course there were more loaves in the waiting. Giddy always made sure we never ran out.

The recipe for Giddy's Christmas bread has been passed down. Those in the family who've followed in the tradition of baking the bread,which is a 2-day endeavor, have done quite well. Of course they have Giddy as their mentor. I've never attempted to make the bread. I think I will remain a taster-enjoying every slice as memories of Giddy in her kitchen fill my heart.

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