If there is one thing that evokes memories, it definitely has to be food. A certain smell, an old family recipe, even a treat of old can bring back a moment in time so vivid that it seems like it was just yesterday. Food memories can bring into your day the happiest of moments and sometimes the saddest of days. But despite the type of moment you recall, the memory is a precious gift that allows us to live in times that were so fleeting long ago.
My Aunt Toad. I don't really recall why we called her that. Her name is Wendy, after my beloved Grandfather Wendell. But, she is and always will be Aunt Toad...and Aunt Toad made some killer popcorn balls. I am not talking the run of the hard, crispy, old maid loaded popcorn balls. I am talking soft, chewy, buttery deliciousness. (Yeah, I know it isn't a word, but I don't care). Each Christmas I awaited the day Aunt Toad brought over her treat basket because I knew those popcorn balls would be in there.
When we were young we always spent the holidays together. Whether we were sledding down Toad's hill, avoiding trees and cars, or swinging on the giant weeping willow branches hanging in our yard, or watching videos on the old VCR, or the smell of Grandpa's swisher-sweets cigars, or waiting for Max the dog to attack one of us, or laughing at Grandma's stock pile of toilet paper in her storage, we were always together. And these memories, bits fading as I age, are recalled swiftly when I start to yearn for one of Aunt Toad's popcorn balls.
And so this year, I decided share the popcorn tradition with friends for Halloween. I always make them for Christmas...but they are just for my family because that memory is special to me and not to be shared.
So, if you are lucky enough to stop by our house tonight for Beggar's night you will get to try one of my Aunt Toad's popcorn balls. Thank you Aunt Toad for the recipe...and don't worry, I am keeping it a secret like you did until we all left home!
Maybe on second thought I won't share. Remember, soft, chewy, buttery deliciousness.