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Sweet Memories

It’s finally football weather. The air is cooler. The nights are longer, and for some reason food tastes better.

Think back to your childhood. Aren’t there certain foods that you associate with certain people or events?
Maybe it’s Aunt Sue’s jam cake at Christmas or Grandma’s pumpkin pie every Thanksgiving.

I certainly have more than my fair share of memories from the kitchen, especially when it comes to sweets. As a child I went to my grandmother’s house almost every day after school. The centerpiece of the room was an old wooden kitchen table. When I arrived whatever they had for lunch was covered with clean, white dishtowels. It didn’t take me long to find the biscuit basket. Grandma made homemade biscuits every day and there was always an assortment of homemade jellies and jams to go with them. To this day I can still close my eyes and almost taste her peach preserves, blackberry jam, and grape jelly.

My mother inherited my grandmother’s love of baking. When I went away to college she sent enough food with me to feed the entire floor in my dorm. Every Sunday I went back to school with an Italian Crème cake. As far as I know Mama never used a mix. Every cake, every pie, even the crust, was made from scratch. Holidays were an excuse for baking excess and she loved testing new recipes on us. Over the years she fed us cakes made with unusual ingredients like potatoes, carrots, Coca-Cola, and even prunes, and they were all delicious.

Because I have a sweet tooth the size of Mount Rushmore, over the years I’ve learned a few tricks to compensate for the calories I consume. For instance, if I eat a hot fudge sundae, I always wash it down with diet soda then go for a long walk in the park.

This holiday season I may do like a good friend of mine. Sue always eats her dessert first. “Life is uncertain,” she says, “why should I save the best for last?”

Indeed, why should I? Pass the Italian Crème cake please!

Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours.

Note: For Teresa’s mom’s Italian Crème Cake recipe, go to our Web site at www.KentuckyLiving.com/cooking, click on “Search Recipes,” and type in Italian Crème Cake in the recipe search box.

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