A light tap on the door began a Foster tradition when I was a kid. It was my grandmother and she held two plates of gingerbread that would alter my life as a child and again as an adult.
She’d found a box of Betty Crocker gingerbread mix. One night after dinner she made the gingerbread and surprised me with a warm square with a melted pat of margarine inside. She kept a piece for herself, sat at the edge of my bed, and we talked about school, our activities that day and what we had planned for the following day.
It was a moment that was both delicious and delightful. Later that night I snuck my second slice and noticed a discarded box that said Betty Crocker on it. I was hooked. I thought Betty Crocker was a kind old lady like my grandmother who showered kids with delicious treats.
One night granny made gingerbread and it didn’t taste the same. It was a little bit flat. Something went wrong. I peeked into the garbage that night and saw a discarded box that said Pillsbury on it.
So that was the problem.
As I got older my grandmother allowed me to help make the bread which expanded our bonding. She allowed me to lick the bowl which I guess is a no, no in today’s modern world because of the raw egg.
We continued our weekly chats over gingerbread until I moved out of the house for college.
For the better part of my adult life I did not make or eat gingerbread. Then I had kids and one day I decided to make for them. I missed the chats with my grandmother and I wanted to reintroduce my taste buds to the product itself.
After dinner one night I baked the bread and called my children down from their rooms to the kitchen. A freshly baked square of gingerbread with a pat of butter awaited them.
Usually when you feed my children that high tail it to their bedroom, the basement or our outdoor patio. This time that sat at the table to enjoy the gingerbread. Both loved it. And we sat and talked about what was going on in their lives.
I was bonding all over again.
I wasn’t sure if things from the 1970s translated to today. Betty Crocker gingerbread does.
For months gingerbread stopped being a thing in our house. We could not find it at our local Kroger stores. It just disappeared. I did not realize gingerbread was a seasonal thing. My kids missed the treat. I did too. I became desperate and reached out on twitter. Someone said they saw some at a Meijer store. I went there and there was only one box left, hardly enough to get us through the winter.
But I bought it.
What I keep failing to realize is that you can find anything on the Internet. A friend Mix’n Nixon, who also used to eat gingerbread with his grandmother, sent me a link where you could buy four boxes at a time. Betty Crocker even found out about my dilemma and sent me an email saying that I could find more boxes at the Meijer in Waterford.
My kids are grown now. As often happens dinner did not quite fill up Brandon. The salmon and pasta dish did not satisfy him and he wanted more food.
“Dad,” he said. “Can you make us some gingerbread?”
Sure can.Find Terry Foster Podcast here: