Friday, 17 December 2010

sucre a la creme

beautiful blue skies, cool, minus 7

A perfect, perfect, perfect winter day. Makes my heart sing. Had breakfast at Nick's, then bought bananas at the Cinq Saison (Trudy loves them and we're out at home), then jumped in the car and drove back to the country.

As we got further and further along the autoroute there was more and more snow. Clearly the Townships got far more than the dusting in Montreal. Arrived home about 1pm. Unloaded the car, and Lise showed up - with her Christmas basket filled with treats!!! We put on the kettle, cracked open her gift of home-made preserves (pickled beets - my favorite...but also jams and relishes) and home-made sweets, including truffles, butter mints and Sucre a la creme - the three of us devoured them. And Lise told us the story of having the sucre a la creme at her grandmother's when she was a child, christmas eve. After dinner and games, everyone was exhausted. The girls (11 children and all their children) would get the few bedrooms. Lise remembers eating the sucre candy (which is like maple fudge) and climbing the stairs - and looking back down to see all the men and boys asleep on the floor in front of the woodstove.

She herself hasn't had the candy for decades, but decided this year to dig out her grandmother's recipe and make it. I have to tell you, the sucre a la creme candy was fabulous. But the real joy was seeing Lise's face as she ate it. Almost brought tears to my eyes.

Christmas is like that, isn't it. So keen with memories, triggered by tastes and smells, by carols. And often unexpected things. I had a moment like that taking Trudy out after her dinner. It's dark now early, of course. Pitch black by 5pm. we decorated the tree this afternoon and as I left I turned and saw the tree through the living room window, and Michael sitting by the fire. And heard King's College Cambridge singing Oh Come All ye Faithful. Then I turned to trudy, and we walked through the crisp, still night. Snow smells, you know. There's an unmistakable fragrance to it. Clean, fresh. if I was blindfolded I'd know the scent of snow. And it was cold enough it creaked underfoot.

There was half a foot of fresh, fluffy snow on the trees, balancing there - and a bright moon. You should see moon shadows on a field of fresh snow. It is breathtaking. And I was reminded of the deep peace I always felt as a child on quiet winter nights, walking on snow under the moon and stars.

Other things remind me of christmas. The smell of cinnamon and nutmeg. Mandarin oranges. Shortbread. Egg nog.

Michael and I don't exchange gifts anymore. We have no needs. No wants. We already have more than enough. What we give to each other at Christmas is peace. And I thought that was enough, until I tasted Lise's Sucre a la creme! Now, I'd like sucre a la creme, and peace for Christmas. In that order.

Before I go, one more thing - Happy Birthday Marjorie!!!! (Ha, bet you thought I forgot!!)


Marjorie said...

You forget? Never!

I began my birthday by breakfasting on Hovey Manor granola and it was outstanding! It was almost as though I had you and MIchael with me.

Thank you very very much.

(For anyone interested, the sweetener in the Hovey granola is pineapple juice. It's delicious.) I wonder if they will ship it to me in 50 gallon drums. Lol.

Marjorie from CT

Dana said...

Home made gifts are the best, and even better is sharing them with the friend who made them.

Happy birthday and a big thank you to Marjorie for keeping us connected with all things Louise.

lil Gluckstern said...

The best presents are those gifties shared with friends, and husbands. Happy Birthday, Marjorie. Enjoy it and the season!
You, Louise, and Michael don't have to give presents to each other. You shine through each day together.

Marjorie said...

Thanks, Dana. Thanks, lil. I think we all do what we can to let others know about Louise's wonderful books. Not that Louise doesn't do a bang-up job on her own getting the word out! But it's great fun to think that I lend a small hand. I just love living (figuratively, of course, not literally) in Three Pines for a short time once a year.

--Marjorie from CT

mary said...

I believe you must feed the stomach before you can feed the soul.