For Christmas this year, my daughter Molly gave me three quarts of homemade ice cream.
I shared, of course, teeny, tiny little dishes for my Christmas Eve guests.
“What flavor would you like?” I asked each one, and then scooped that precious ice cream with a little teaspoon and served it in the smallest glass cups. Then I packed up those cartons and squirrled them away in our garage freezer. I treat myself to a scoop when I need a little pick-me-up and have so far worked my way through the Take Five and the Banana Caramel. I trying to stretch the Service Berry ice cream out for as long as I can.
She also whipped us all up a batch of walnut liqueur, which we tasted on Christmas Eve. Walnut Liqueur earned a multi-generational spot in our family lore when my son Vinnie brought a bottle back from Croatia and gave it to my other son, Charlie. The Croatian relatives, who could not have been kinder to Vinnie during his extended stay with them, sent him home with the bottle and he graciously gifted it to his big brother.
It turns out, though, the Croatian relatives had given Vinnie the last bottle of walnut liqueur and one already claimed by Aunt Pat, a retired judge who intimidated us all.
The next year, at a Biskupic family reunion, Aunt Pat cornered Charlie and announced that she would be coming to New York to visit and to retrieve her bottle of Croatian walnut liqueur. A red blush crept up Charlie’s face and he smiled back at Aunt Pat in the most terrified way. He didn’t say anything, he just chuckled nervously and nodded his head.
I whispered to Charlie after Aunt Pat had cleared the area.
“You don’t have that bottle of walnut liqueur anymore, do you?”
“It’s long gone,” he whispered back.
We scoured the internet in an effort to replace it, but it turns out the actual green walnut liqueur is much harder to buy than we originally thought. Apparently, it’s made in small batches and only in certain years.
So, that was pretty horrifying (but a pretty funny too).
We had another good chuckle about the whole debacle when Molly brought her 2022 version, made with wild black walnuts she’d plucked from the neighborhood trees, to Christmas. She gave us each a small bottle to enjoy throughout the year and I will smile every time I sip it.
Yesterday morning, I stumbled into another of Molly’s delicious treats when I opened the freezer at our family’s cabin. She’d left a bag of homemade hand pies, filled with pears she’d picked from our friend Jill’s front-yard tree. “Help yourself!” she’d written on the bag, along with heating instructions.
I heated up four of them and we had an unbelievably tasty breakfast.
I love that Molly has connected us all in such meaningful and delicious ways, that we can summon family from across the pond and through the generations with each sweet taste.