There was a time that tea cakes were considered a treat. They remain a special treat for those of us that remember them. Mama Greer, Gran and Granny made these special cookies. Each cook gave a special taste to their cookies, just as their biscuits and are accompanied by treasured memories.
My Gran made tea cakes, but she felt that they were not just right. We never complained, enjoyed each attempt, and found no fault with these treats. Gran felt differently. I wonder now if she was trying to capture a taste of her early years to share with us. When you are raised in a family of excellent cooks, you attempt to follow in their steps and feel as if you always fall short. I have learned that particular view is only yours, as family appreciates the attempt and enjoys reliving the happy memories.
My Mama makes sugar cookies rather than tea cakes. I gave up trying to imitate these amazing and incredibly delicious treats years ago. My sugar cookies are fair at best, so I went on to attempt tea cakes instead. The results were pleasing. I was attempting to capture the taste of the cookies that my great-grandmother, Mama Greer made. I will never dare to say that they are as good as hers, because they aren’t. My family says that my tea cakes remind them of hers. My mama claims that it is “in the hands”. This makes me wonder whose hands my mother’s cookies imitate. Which grandmother or aunt made cookies that had a similar taste?
It does remind me of something that Gran told me about cooking. She said “put your love in it”. That is what she did. She also told me that when she was cooking, she thought and prayed about the people for whom she was cooking. The results were proof that those words were true. I now understand that the most important thing we pass down is not the recipes, but the love.
We cook for those we love not to simply nourish the body, but to provide happy memories that will one day nourish the soul. No matter who you are, your grandmothers and mothers’ cookies will never have the same taste as any other cookie. That is an impossible feat. Their love can never be duplicated, but remembered and shared with generations to come.