... the tales of two sisters

Dana lives in Seattle, and Tracie lives in Germany. We are businesswomen, writers and humorists. We write about life, dating, and today's modern women.

The “Secret Touch”

You would think I’d have it by now. But this menopausebarbee won’t lie, I am still a work in progress.

Last night after our Thanksgiving feast, when the dishes were clean, and the leftovers stored for next weeks meals, I enjoyed a glass of wine with my mother and her best friend of 60 years, Auntie Christine.

Like her recipes, Auntie Christine’s age is never revealed, but let’s just say, she’s been blessed with many Thanksgivings. As a tradition, ever since I can recall, Auntie Chris joins our family for Thanksgiving, and my mom goes to her house for the traditional New Years Day dinner. I’m gladAuntie Chrisdoes New Years at her house, because she cooks those stinkin chitterlings (chittlins), and I can’t stand the smell. In Germany, it’s the Hog Maw, which is called Saumagen, but these foul smelling delicacies, along with black eyed peas and greens are supposed to bring goodfortune throughout the New Year.

Auntie Chris is from the South, and she like my mother, theyhave “The Secret Touch” in the kitchen. The Touch, it’s defined as special, bordering on magical, a touch belonging only to the the chosen, enabled and endowed to electrify with culinary skills- not learned, but inborn basics.

Like their mothers and their ancestors before them, neitherAuntie Chris or Mamause a recipe book.And neither of them will sharetheir cooking secrets- they just call it, “The Touch”. There is no need for measuring spoons or cups. The recipes of “The Touch”, calls for – “a heaping of”, “a pinch of”, or “season to taste of” to get it right. When I asked them who taught them “The Touch”, they both shrug and say they just picked it up over the years from watching their mothers and grandmothers.

Listening to them discuss, but notfully disclosewhat went into the craband shrimp Etouffee or the why the mac and cheese was so moist was like trying to break theDavinci code.These women, like their mother’s don’t and won’t write it down. It’s their gift.

Watching my mother prep for Thanksgiving is truly an artful experience. The week before the holiday, I trudge with her to shopfor groceries.This is atask I ruefully dislike, because I know one hour later, I will hail from the store, rushing to the car in the rainwithbag upon bag of everything from merlitons to a block of cheese for me to grate. Mompromises that gratingit makes the mac n cheese taste better, which I could care less, because I don’t even like cheese!

Mom refuses to use any modern conveniences. She stands and hand chops the pickles, onions, and celery. As we march past the produce isle, I scream- “Ma look, they sell them already chopped for you!” No way, she won’t hear it.She ignores me and continues on her mission to capture more of her special ingredients before the store run out!

Over the years, I’ve watched, photographed, and eaten my mother’s divine “Secret Touch”, but I have come to realize the only way to get it down, is to practice.Sorry Paula Deen, I appreciate your efforts, but I liken it tolearning to ride a bike orswim, once you get it, you own it. It’s a hands on learning experience one must practice to perfect. There is no cooking show, recipe book, or prepared frozen produce that can create it.

During every Thanksgiving meal, I have a tradition called, Pass The Turkey. Each family member has to hold a Turkey candle and say what they are most thankful for over the past year.

As my taste buds came alive with Mama’s homemade dressing, gravy poured over the succulent Turkey, honey glazed ham, the sweetest ofyams, crunchy, yet tangy potato salad, well seasoned green beans, and I eyed the pound cake, I was about to devour, I gave thanks to Mama and her “Secret Touch!” I go to bed with a swollen belly and think about the black outfit I will wear for Black Friday.Black doesmake you look slimmer, maybe that’s why they call it Black Friday. I closemy eyes and doze off having sweet dreams of the one day when I too will master the “Secret Touch.”