The perfect combination for s’mores is a crackling fire, gooey vanilla marshmallows, crispy graham crackers and melty chocolate.

A few weeks ago, my brother came home for a short visit, and I invited him and my mother over for dinner. With the warm weather, we headed out to my new patio after dinner and decided to make a fire under the stars. Earlier that evening, I had purchased all the fixings for s’mores, and I was eager to surprise them with dessert. As I brought out all the components, my brother made a comment that surprised me. He said, “It’s been years since I have had a s’more.” It excited me to bring back a nostalgic childhood treat, but it also saddened me. How often do we put aside childhood favorites as adults?

One of my favorite childhood sandwiches is a fried egg sandwich. Yes, it is as simple as it seems. An egg fried in bacon grease, sandwiched between two pieces of white bread, and served piping hot is a nostalgic childhood memory that I have not eaten in years. This sandwich was special because it was made by my grandmother on mornings when grandpa planned to take us to the Bloomfield Livestock Auction. I never remember us buying anything, but like any good old farmer, grandpa loved to look at and scout cows. As we got bundled up to leave, I remember grandma standing at the stove frying eggs, the popping sound a reminder that soon that delicious sandwich would be in my hands. She would plop those eggs on that bread and wrap them in towels because our hands would always end up with a little bit of bacon grease.

We would all get into the truck, and grandma would dish out sandwiches, the sounds of munching filling the truck as we headed to Bloomfield.

Fast forward to high school and the wintertime. My grandpa and grandma would make kocsonya for the family on frigid winter days. Kocsonya, or pickled pigs feet, is a unique Hungarian dish that my family enjoyed. This cooking project was one of my favorites because it involved my grandfather and I spending time together over a roaring fire in our little cabin back in the woods. In order to make this dish, the pigs’ feet had to be scrubbed and then charred over an open fire before they were simmered in a giant kettle for hours with pickling spices. Once the feet had cooked for hours and released their gelatin, the original recipe called for one foot to be placed in each bowl, and then the sauce was ladled over the foot. Then, this was crucial for success, the bowl had to be set outside in the snow to set up and form the jelly surrounding the foot.

According to the recipe and family tradition, the refrigerator would never do — it had to be snow. That is why this dish was made in winter. Grandpa and I would carefully carry steaming bowls into the snow, where the cooling process would occur. Once these dishes were cool, they were covered and moved into the garage or basement to await a warm loaf of bread, a spoon, and a willing mouth. I didn’t enjoy the jelly at all, but picking the supple meat out of that foot was the highlight of my winter.

Since my grandfather’s death, I haven’t had the heart to make this dish. I keep talking about making it, and maybe one of these days, I will, but just like those fried egg sandwiches, I worry they might not be as good as my memories.

While there are several other foods, I could tell you the memories associated with them, and continue on, I won’t. I’ll get to the critical point. Thanksgiving is coming up soon; it’s the holiday of food, love, family, friends and thankfulness. It’s a moment in our crazy busy lives to stop, give thanks, and savor some of our most-liked foods made by some of our most treasured people.

So while you are gathered around the table with family, friends, or even perfect strangers, take a moment to savor your favorite foods and, by default, your dearest people. While the recipes may get passed down, the food is never precisely the same without the love of the person who made it.

Love, memories, and food are often the best part of our holidays, and I wish you the happiest Thanksgiving this year. May you be surrounded by love and good food this holiday.

Submitted by Christen Clemson, a member of the Trumbull County Farm Bureau who completed her Ph.D. at the Pennsylvania State University.  She and her family farm in Mecca Township.

 

OFBF Mission: Working together for Ohio farmers to advance agriculture and strengthen our communities.

I'm eternally grateful for the support Ohio Farm Bureau scholarships provided in helping me turn my dreams into reality.
Bethany Starlin's avatar
Bethany Starlin

Hocking County Farm Bureau

Available scholarships
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
With not growing up on a farm, I’d say I was a late bloomer to agriculture. I feel so fortunate that I found the agriculture industry. There are so many opportunities for growth.
Jenna Gregorich's avatar
Jenna Gregorich

Coshocton County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Business Solutions
Farm Bureau involvement has taught me how to grow my professional and leadership experience outside of the workforce and how to do that in a community-centric way.
Jaclyn De Candio's avatar
Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

Young Ag Professionals program
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

Advocacy
Suggested Tags: