The first recipe I ever followed – besides the back of a mac n cheese box – was my Aunt Anne’s “YULE LOG”. She had made it the last Thanksgiving we had spent together and I dreamt about it for a year.
I was 12 and when she sent me the recipe, I read over the ingredients and began my list. Walking through Kroger trying to find my treasured items, I realized – I had never seen a bag of…what was this white stuff…SUGAR? A whole bag of SUGAR?! I had never heard of such a thing.
My mom would drive 40 minutes with 5 children under 12 years old to a specialty health food store just to get “Rice Dream” (sugar and dairy free “ice cream”) and Carob Chips. This was before Gluten Free and Dairy Free items existed in regular groceries. We ate very healthy, and I truly thank her for that now.
But this one recipe called for more than half the bag of sugar! My little sisters and brother didn’t know what was in store… and my poor parents had no idea the sugar high I was about to impose on my younger followers.
Aside from the ingredients I had never laid eyes on, there were the tools. Measuring a teaspoon of vanilla with the smallest spoon I could find. Coffee cups filled with “a cup” of flour. I whisked my eggs with a fork. Lumped it all together and baked it – on a rusty sheet pan that I think came with the oven when it was installed.
Then there was the technique of actually rolling this cake I just baked. Then layering and rolling, I was WAY out of my league! My Aunt Anne sure had some faith in me!
But low and behold, like a Christmas miracle, that dang cake looked like a chocolate, cream filled, warm-ya-right-up Yule Log.
Now they say that some memories are augmented over time. The more you replay it in your mind, the reality of what really happened fades and is replaced by the 2.0 version, then 3.0, etc..
But thanks to the lack of technology at your finger tips back in 1995, this memory will not pop up on a #tbt and that Yule Log will forever remain perfect in my mind!
Oh. And sorry mom and dad… I think we were up for three straight days….
And so began my culinary journey.