My Mother’s Stollen

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[Christmas Morning, 2015]

So many things I could write about, so many things to say: about my mother, who is ninety-two and failing, about my complicated relationship with the original Patricia Wild, about my memories of childhood Christmases and trying to relish my mother’s stollen—but so much I want to say feels private. Like a thought or an insight that comes from that small, still voice within me during the quiet of silent worship but, by its intimate and personal nature, makes clear this thought/insight is not to be shared but is, rather, “bread for home.” Bread sprinkled with powdered sugar or, as was the case with my mother’s stollen, slathered with buttercream icing and filled with red and green candied fruit.

So I will simply say this: This Christmas after opening our stockings we did not eat my mother’s stollen. (She hasn’t baked in years.) Instead we thoroughly enjoyed a “secret stollen recipe passed down from generations of esteemed pastry chefs in the Hamburg region of Germany . . . made with hazelnuts, candied fruit, rum raisins and a sumptuous spice blend,” a specialty of pastry chef Bjoern Boettcher, my oldest daughter’s Brooklyn neighbor.

It was delicious. (Happily, Chef Botcher uses au naturel candied fruit.) And tasted like what I believe my mother, who’d grown up in a German-American family, had yearned to share with her family and neighbors. (Every year at Christmas, our kitchen turned into a Christmas stollen factory!)  Like the angel chimes from my own childhood, a magical memory I wanted to share with my children and have, I have come to think my mother had tasted a stollen a LOT like what we’d enjoyed this year —and wanted to replicate that sweet experience for us. But, busy with child-rearing and keeping up with my father (talk about complicated!), she never had time to do the kind of research a pastry chef eager to make his mark on the culinary world would dedicate to such a quest. So, I’m betting she simply tore a “stollen” recipe out of some fifties women’s magazine because it approximated what she so fondly remembered and, like she had to do in so many ways, Pat Wild Made Do. (Those hated red and green candied fruit? Fifties fare, right?)

I’m hoping Chef Boettcher’s delicious and magical stollen will become a family tradition. But as I’m savoring his sumptuous spice blend, I pray I’ll be able to also taste my mother’s fervency with every bite.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Dear Patricia,

    Hello, there, Patricia my so, so very dearly special and dearly precious friend and sister who you are For Always so, so very much!!!!!!! A Very Nice, Happy, Special, and Blessed New Year to you, sister, and to yours, my so, so very dearest sisterfriend!!!!!!! Wow, Patricia, I so, so very much love and like this very lovely, eloquent, and heartfelt reflection of yours, sister! Thank-you so, so much for this delightful and interesting sharing about your dearest and darling mother’s tasty stollen. I’m so, so very honored as I know your other very grateful and appreciative readers are, too, by your graciousness in sharing this preciously close look into this family tradition you rvery special mother so lovingly created so long ago, sister! What a beautiful tradition which she began for you and the rest of your family all those wonderful decades ago, sisterfriend! I, too, hope Chef Boettcher’s yummy and magical stollen will become a tradition for your so very dear family, Patricia! What a greatly immense joy and blessing this is to very delightfully and eagerly read your so very gracious sharing by you, precious friend, with this so very dear close look into your very important family tradition, sister!!!!!!! Sisterfriend, I am just so very honored that you have shared with each of us as your very loyal readers, sister, and we are blessed by you and because of it, my friend!!!!!! Stollen sounds absolutely delicious, yummy, and delectable, Patricia! How interesting this is to learn about stollen-I’d not heard of stollen before, Patricia! I’ve learned about something new and so delightful here, my friend!

    I’m praying so hard daily and often for you, Patricia, my so, so very dearest and darling friend and sister who you are For Always so, so very much, for your precious husband, your so very dearest and darling mom, the rest of your very beloved, precious, and special family, and also For Always for your pure in heart friendsfamily at your very blessed Friends Meeting at Cambridge, sister! I so yearn to keep each and every one of you covered in my prayers and showered with blessings, sending positive energy all of your way, sisterfriend! What a sheer joy and such a blessed pleasure it is for me to keep all of you covered daily and so very often with my very earnest prayers and thoughts, Patricia!!!!!! What a great and joyous blessing this fantastic blog post article of yours is for sure, along with your other blog post articles and other spectacular writings, Patricia!!!!!! Yay!!!!!! Thank-you so, so much for the gift and blessing of you and for this blessed gift of masterful composition in the written word which keeps my very heart and spirit uplifted and fills me with such blessed inspiration, sister!!!!!!

    Please have a Marvelous and a Mighty Fine Monday, a wondrously wonderful rest of your week and weekend, A Very Nice, Happy, Special, and Blessed New Year to you and yours and each and every one of you, and may all of your days be so, so very especially blessed, my sisterfriend!!!!!!!

    Very Warmly and Sincerely For Always, my so, so very special sisterfriend Christian white woman, Patricia, with Peace and Love to you For Always, my sister, with Blessings and Even More Blessings to you For Always, my friend,

    Your sisterfriend Christian lesbian black woman For Always in the spirit and solidarity, Sherry Gordon

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