I spent a lot of time last week, over Thanksgiving, thinking about all that I have to feel grateful for. Of course there was plenty of cooking and merrymaking, but also time for reflection.
One of the things I'm most thankful for are the loved ones in my life--my family and friends. And one of my dearest friends, Rebecca, was here in the city last week, which gave us the opportunity to celebrate her birthday.
I baked Rebecca my mom's famous Texas Sheet Cake. It's the same cake my mom used to bake for each of us for our birthdays while we were growing up. My mom adored Rebecca and would be so happy to know that I made this cake for her. I'm so thankful that Rebecca knew my mom.
Thanksgiving was always the favorite holiday in our house. I suppose it's because it centers around food and cooking. Sometimes it felt like our family communicated and related to each other best when we were cooking together or sharing a meal.
My sister and I have a tradition, since my mother's passing, of always spending Thanksgiving together and honoring my mom. We gather together and cook all of the family recipes, passed down from my great grandmother, grandmother and mother. My niece, Olivia, who recently learned to make my great grandmothers rolls, is now part of that chain, too.
While I won't ever get to spend another Thanksgiving with my mom, I'm thankful that I had her as my mother for the time--though far too brief--that I did. I'm thankful that I could be by her side during her illness, and ultimately her death. This is the month I celebrate her during the holiday; it's also the month that holds the anniversary of her death.
But my mom wasn't one to dwell on sorrow. She preferred to celebrate. She is, after all, the person who wanted her life celebrated with rose champagne and a party in lieu of a funeral.
So try making this cake (recipe below, in my mother's handwriting) for your next birthday celebration, and consider serving it with glasses of rose champagne.
Here's to you, mom.