My mother always called Memorial Day “Decoration Day”. We would make the trek to her home town just an hour drive from home and decorate the graves of ancestors. In that little cemetery in Henefer, Utah we would decorate the graves of 4 previous generations on my maternal side. At times it was more like a reunion. The kids would run flowers around to designated graves, while my mom, grandmother and aunts chatted with dear friends they had not seen in a year.
After decorating we would go to my grandma’s house for her amazing fried chicken, potato salad and her simple chocolate cake. A cake that is perfect for any family gathering or picnic. A cake that brings back a flood of memories eating fried chicken on her back porch in Henefer.
Aunt Erma, my grandma’s sister, just lived a few doors down the street. She is “Aunt Erma” to everyone and everyone in town drools over her iced chocolate cookies. It’a amazing how I randomly meet people and we discover we are related to “the Aunt Erma” of Henefer. The conversation always turning to her chocolate cookies.
Grandma and Aunt Erma were faithful members of the Daughter’s of Utah Pioneers. Every now and then I would drive to Henefer to attend one of their “camp” meetings. I remember quilts being set up in Erma’s living room where women would gather for their D.U.P. meeting and quilt. Most of these women were widows and they had meager incomes. This did not stop them from baking dozens of cookies to keep in their freezer for visitors that may come by. I would gather up flats of eggs from a local egg farm, go to Costco and buy bags of sugar and flour to help with their passion for baking. I have such fond memories of those days.
We always placed flowers on the grave of my Fraternal grandfather who had been killed in Normandy, France during WWII. I have never known this grandfather, but my father always paid tribute to him on Memorial day giving us a sense of being linked together for the eternities.
Memorial Day would not be complete without home churned ice cream. We usually made Aunt Erma’s recipe for vanilla ice cream with a hint of lemon. Someday I will have to post that recipe. It makes a good 6 quarts of ice cream. This chocolate ice cream recipe will make about 5 quarts and I use my old White Mountain Ice Cream freezer that I layer with rock salt and ice and churn for about 30 minutes.
I cannot make fried chicken that even begins to compare with my grandmothers, but I can cook up some mouth watering ribs with Cherry Cola glaze.
Or even better our families favorite burger. Jalapeno Cheddar Burgers baby!
During your memorial celebrations take a moment to remember dear ones who have passed away and especially service men and women who have fallen while defending our country.