With all my heart I believe in magic. Oh, how I hope we’re the same, you and me.
Not rabbits out of hats or the dark and mystical, only in the sweetest sense of the word–
The things that steal my breath, explode my heart, and make me want to burst into an ovation of gratitude; seriously, those closest to me know I clap (or jump) in the presence of magical delights–
How a bird gathers twigs and twine and puzzles them into a home…
The way a firefly strobes on a warm summer night…
Rainbows after storms, skies striped in lightning, a wave’s thunderous applause…
And what happens around my kitchen and dining room tables.
adjective: wonderful; exciting
A table is a special place, a sacred space, where heart, soul and body are nourished.
It is home alter and first classroom, where we learn to serve and be served.
Thanksgiving is within spitting distance and Christmas is right around the corner, both when traditions scatter deep and wide. I love that about the holidays, don’t you? The older I get the more I appreciate the value in our family’s traditions, the practices my people have learned to expect year after year. I’m convinced traditions aren’t just important, they matter for a lot of reasons.
It’s never too late to begin a new tradition, and the holiday season seems to have many anchored right around the table.
When Thanksgiving is hosted in our home, I require at least one “ticket” for entry; I figure it’s a reasonable trade-off for my work in preparing a 27-course feast. I have pen and paper available, everyone records what they’re thankful for, and drops their entry (or six) in our Thankful Box. After dinner, we pass the box around the table, fish out a slip of paper, read it, and try to guess who wrote it. Like magic, it holds us together a little longer, usually with a lot of laugther. I’ve tried a similar practice at Christmas dinner, though with a slight twist.
The kitchen seems to be a hub for cherished traditions, and not just limited to the table. While I love cooking in general and baking in particular, my famous little hand-pressed butter mints are a favorite to make and give as surcies. Using a recipe passed down to me by my mother-in-love (shared below), since you press out each mint by hand, it’s most fun to enlist my daughter or friends to help.
I love learning about the traditions others celebrate during the holidays. I imagine readers of GraceTable feel much the same way. And lest you think you don’t really have traditions, I promise you do–maybe it’s a recipe handed down for generations or one you created and *have* to make every year; maybe it’s a blessing prayed over your family by the oldest member at the table; the table cloth or dishes reserved for family occasions, shopping on Black Friday, picking up a tree as soon as the turkey’s all gone.
Sometimes new ideas breathe fresh life into gatherings, and help us incorporate new traditions. With Thanksgiving in just days, tell us about your special traditions in comments? It might be the very idea another reader has been searching for! And to one lucky commenter, I’m going to send some of Noni’s Butter Mints as a little surcie from me to you. Trust me, a comment is small price to pay for these magical little treats!
- 1 Box 10X Confectioner's Sugar
- 3/4 Stick of Margarine (NOT butter!)
- 2-3 Tablespoons Evaporated Milk
- 8-9 Drops Peppermint Oil (NOT extract!)
- Food Coloring, if desired
- Mix it all together and make a stiff dough (similar to dry Play Doh).
- Pinch off enough mint dough to fill mold. Invert and press out onto waxed paper.
- Allow 24 hours to air dry (but you can sneak a bite whenever you want.)
- Peppermint Oil can be found at candy shops or compounding pharmacies; extract will not produce the same results! If you can't find a local source for butter mint molds (you MUST use flexible, rubber/silicone molds, not plastic ones), I have some links on my original post: http://robindance.me/2007/11/handpressed-buttermints.html