So much of childhood is waiting until you are old enough. Because whatever the grownups are doing that you aren’t allowed to do yet, it must be fun, right? It must be super awesome and exciting, or else the adults – who seem omnipotent and are obviously allowed to do anything they want – wouldn’t do it.
Then you grow up and most of the adult world is pretty lame. Driving? Eh. No set bedtime? Eh. And if you eat cookies whenever you want, like you swore at age ten that you would, you get to eh eh eh your tukas on the treadmill. And that is not the cool experience you thought it would be, either.
When I was growing up, the entire extended family gathered together at my Grandad’s house for Christmas. And every year in the evening I witnessed an alluring, mysterious tradition as the women gathered in the kitchen to clean up after the feast while the men commandeered the kids’ toys and gadgets. As the women talked and washed and laughed mugs of hot buttered rum were passed around. From the outside looking in, it seemed so warm and close, awash in female camaraderie and surreptitious hooch. I wanted very badly to be part of that. And by the time I was old enough the family had gone through a lot of changes and new traditions came to fill in the spaces where old ones used to be.
Now the gathering is at my in-laws’ place, and we and my folks and various strays gather to celebrate. As the women clean up and the men assemble the kids’ toys and gadgets, I break out a bottle of champagne to pass around the kitchen. And lo, there is much rejoicing.
Then last year I developed a nasty allergy to wine. I know. Words fail me.
Since there would be no bubby, I broke out the family HBR recipe and gave it a go. Mmmm. Isn’t it nice when something you wanted so badly as a kid turns out just as wonderful when you are finally able to take part? The only women around were my mom and me, but it was just as cozy and close as it seemed when I was a kid too young to be part of it and could only watch from the doorway. Now it was my kitchen (and my mess) and my mugs.
The reason I bring it up now in February is that the recipe makes a TON of batter. And I have found that it is not just for Christmas evening. It is perfect for the nasty, cold, clammy, brutish evenings of late winter when you are shivering and it is dark out and there are no merry holidays to look forward to.
Make a batch. It will thaw your shivers.
GrannyLyn’s Hot Buttered Rum
1 qt. Vanilla Ice Cream
1 lb. Butter (no margerine, please)
1 lb. Box of brown sugar
1 Jigger rum
Blend ice cream, butter, and brown sugar in a blender, mixer, or food processor. Place in an air tight container and freeze. When ready to use, place 2 or 3 tablespoons of batter in a mug. Add one jigger of rum and fill with boiling water. Stir and serve.