Friday, December 3, 2010

Pecans and Memories

Pecans and Memories

In the mid-sixties, unlike today, children weren't included in the loop when it came to family finances. I remember going to the grocery store with my mother and asking for some treat or toy and being told 'no', or 'not today.' She never elaborated about why I couldn't have it and, being a kid, I assumed that she just didn't want me to have it. I was not informed that we could not afford it.
Neither, at the time, did I know how tough it was on Mom and Dad when it came to birthdays and Christmas. Dad was a deputy with the county and Mom was a 'stay at home'. Not a lot of money to go toward presents for the kids at Christmas.
However, one memory that has grown in my heart was the year that Mom gathered pecans off the ground under the trees in our back yard and sold them to friends and neighbors in order to earn enough money to buy presents. She was amazing.
I think that it was because of this event that I came to crave the taste of pecan pie at the holidays. This craving was satisfied by my grandmother (on Mom's side of the family) for many years. Even when I was on active duty in the Navy, she would bake at least two for Christmas and make sure to save one just for me. If I were not able to be home over the holidays, she would wrap it and freeze it for my enjoyment when I got home.
After her passing, my aunt (Mom's sister) picked up the torch and made sure that I had my pecan pies over Christmas.
Alas, time passes and so do our relatives. However, we may lose people in our lives but we gain some as well. I got married and for many years now, my wife, Lisa, has provided the wonder of the pecan pie for Christmas.
We don't gather our own pecans, but she follows a recipe' from her family that has been passed down, just for me. Of course, everyone gets a slice, but this feeds more than my taste buds. It tickles my memories of love and family.

Pecan Pie

1 deep dish pie crust
3 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup pecan halves
1/3 cup melted butter
1cup corn syrup

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Combine eggs, sugar, butter and syrup and beat with hand mixer.
Stir in pecans.
Pour into unbaked pie shell.
Bake 40 to 50 minutes until set.
Remove and cool on wire rack.
Serve at nearly room temperature.

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