My 6-year-old and I made homemade fettuccine a few weeks ago. It was our very first attempt and it was pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. Even my 11-year-son said it was "awesome." (In case you didn't know, "awesome" is the highest form of pre-teen praise). The whole time, I kept thinking that I could just buy the box of fettuccine at Kroger for $1.29. So...why didn't I?
What is it about making something yourself that is so satisfying? Sure, you know exactly what is in it. It's fresh and not loaded with preservatives and other 'stuff.' But that's not the real reason -- at least not for me. I've been thinking about it a lot lately. In my case, I'm quite sure a lot of it is sentimental. It gives me a connection to my past, particularly to my wonderful grandmother. My grandmother was an amazing, talented, loving woman. She was a gifted seamstress. She could crochet like nobody's business. She made the world's most fabulous chicken and dumplings. She made homemade jellies and fig preserves that could bring a tear to your eye. She had the greenest thumb imaginable. She took me fishing. She taught me to play gin rummy and solitaire. She took me blackberry picking. She encouraged and taught and advised and loved and hugged and made me feel like I was special. She was, quite simply, the perfect grandmother. Though she's been gone from this earth for nearly twenty years, I still miss her everyday.
So now, when I'm planting flowers or making a homemade pound cake, I think of her. I can almost feel her there beside me. And, now, I have this amazing little six-year-old and she loves to help me. And I try REALLY hard to let her, even when it means things take longer and the mess is bigger, because I remember how much fun it was to help my grandma and how good it made me feel to do something "real."
So, if I make homemade pasta it takes longer. Big deal -- what's my hurry? This amazing little person whom I am fortunate to call my daughter is going to be gone before I know it. I mean, really. How did she get to be SIX already?? She'll have her own life and, maybe, her own family. But one day, perhaps she'll be standing in her own kitchen making pasta and remembering that we used to do it together and that it was good. 'Cause it's not really the pasta or the dumplings or the blackberry picking. As an adult I can see that it's the TIME my grandma gave me that was the real gift.
Thanks, Nana. I love you.