17 May 2006

My Nan (my Mom's Mom) made the best marmalade. She said never gave out the recipe, and she never let anyone help her make it. She made small batches, and it was always a special treat. She told me that, since I loved it best, I was to have the recipe when she died.

Nan died when I was twelve or so. I was devastated. People I knew didn't die. I didn't even know anybody who'd ever mentioned anyone they knew dying. The funeral was horrible ... some wrinkled up old bat in a box, and someone who didn't have anything nice to say about her when she was alive going on about great she was. That was the first funeral I ever went to.

We have a family recipe for Christmas cake. It came from my Grandma (my Dad's Mom). It's passed 'round and lost and recopied so many times that it likely bears little resemblance to the original, but it's still very good. I'd given the recipe to Darren's Mom, she lost it a couple of years later and phoned to get it again ... only I couldn't find my copy. So Mom and I were going through boxes and boxes of her recipes, trying to find it. As a last resort, we checked in the boxes of "old" recipes ... I'd never gone through these ones before ... Mom said they were other people's recipes and she'd just put them away when she got them and hardly ever took them out. We finally found it in a chipped pink tin recipe box.

Well, we found a recipe at any rate ... probably copied from the original ... likely given by one grandmother to the other. It was in Nan's handwriting ... and tucked right behind it was her recipe for marmalade. The card is old and brittle and deep, deep yellow ... in her spidery handwriting, in pencil, are three words: Seville Oranges Sugar. Mom and I laughed until we cried. I take that treasured recipe out at the time of year when Seville Oranges are available ... and I think about Nan. Some day, I'll try to recreate her marmalade.

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