In November a friend came over and taught me how to make sauerkraut, something she'd learned how to do from her father. Yesterday I taught her how to knit, something I'd learned from my grandmother.
This winter has really had me thinking a lot about these skills that are passed down.
When I was young I learned how to mend and embroider and sew from my mom. I have such a strong memory of sitting on her lap at the machine, my hands on top of hers as we would guide the fabric along the feeder foot together. She taught me how to use a pattern, and cut out fabric, and sew a button on properly.
I was about fourteen years old when I spent a weekend at my grandmother's house so she could show me how to make perogis and sarma (cabbage rolls) and strudel, and I am reminded of her every time I make any of those dishes.
(Jeff had a few pages of her recipe book framed for me as a gift this past Christmas)
I'm currently in the process of learning charcuterie from the uncles in my husband's family and I'm so incredibly grateful that they put up with me and all my questions as I attempt to learn what is second nature to them, passed down from their fathers.
What we inherit is so strong. It's memories. It's skills that we learn and can then turn around and pass on to someone else, keeping those parts of the past – little parts of our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents – alive today and for future generations.