Have you ever been handed a family tradition that you’re not sure you want any more?

I’m at that point.

Due to circumstances at the time, I was the family member that happened to be living with my Grandma before her health and mind deteriorated.  The last holiday season I lived with her, she shared with me her Ritz Cracker Pie recipe.  And no, this is NOT the same recipe you can find on the back of a Ritz cracker box.  This recipe is one of the original-original recipes from somewhere around 1920-30, passed down from Great-Grandma to Grandma and now to me, the Grand-daughter.  This is the recipe that 3 out of 5 aunts/uncles (my Dad included), plus multiple cousins and grandkids all request for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Don’t get me wrong – I love the memories of Grandma that come up as I’m making the pie.  I love the fact that I was the one entrusted with the “secret”.  I love making my family happy and I love getting the “a-ok” thumbs up sign when I happen to make it “just right”.  However, I don’t love the fact that I (personally) hate the recipe!  I can’t stand the taste of it.  I can’t even eat the glorious creation that I’ve made!!  Bummer….

Granted, you’re probably thinking that you’d LOVE to have that problem – but it gets frustrating.  This isn’t an easy recipe to make.  It’s a 24 hour endeavor to get it to that “just right” stage.  And I can’t even enjoy one piece of it?  Really?

Now, I’ll admit that I don’t work on it for a straight 24 hours.  But, I’m also not a foodie that loves spending time in the kitchen either.  When I cook something, I want it to be over and done with in one fell swoop.  I don’t want to have to remember to keep coming back to something over and over again – and unfortunately, according to Grandma and my own attempts to modify the recipe – this is exactly what you have to do with this recipe to make it “just right”.

Also – I had to work with the recipe – and Grandma while she was still alive – to understand her measuring amounts.  How much is a heaping?  Or what about the notes to use the silver measuring cup instead of the cooper one?  Dash of this and a dollop of that and with recipe challenged me following directions, it made for a rough few years when first making the batch.

So – I’ll be beginning early Wednesday morning on this recipe.  I’ll make the filling before leaving for work.  It’ll sit on the stove for the entire day (as a food supervisor for many years, I have such an issue with this!!  But, it’s an important step I was warned not to skip.  I tried to, one year, yeah….that wasn’t a success….), gelling, until I get back home to make the crust at the end of the day.  The crust takes me about an hour to make and another hour to bake the pie.  Then it must – MUST! – sit in the refrigerator overnight or the flavors will not blend “just right”.  Not to mention the glaze on top must be made as well.

I’ll take it to the family gathering; everyone will ooh and aah over it, and then eat about half of it.  Did I mention the recipe also makes more than any of us (even w/50+ people showing up) will eat?  I’ll take the rest to work on Friday for the poor souls that are missing out on Black Friday sales.  Lucky them.

And still, I won’t have eaten a piece (or if I do, I’ll wonder why I bothered – bleck!).  Maybe I can convince one of the cousins who do like it to take over the tradition for me…..

Why oh why was our family tradition not 7-Layer Dessert?  Mom – wanna start a new tradition???  I’ll gladly take that one over…..

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