February 27, 2012

the secret ingredient.



The kitchen is warm and cozy and I offer to make eggs, pulling the carton out of the fridge and cracking one, two, ten eggs into the bowl. The shells find a place in an empty pan and the silver whisk turns in my fingers. I sprinkle the salt and add a dash of pepper, and then add the secret. A smidge of sugar. I was making eggs and my mom said, "wait! you don't know the secret." So she whispered it to me and I laughed and she laughed and we laughed together.



"Is that what makes them fluffy?" I ask, half-jokingly. She laughs again and shakes her head. "Yes. And no. I don't know what it does -- probably nothing, but that's how my grandpa made them. That's how we make scrambled eggs." She says it likes its the surest thing in the world and somehow, it makes such perfect sense that all I can do is add a pinch more sugar.


Because that's how my great-grandpa did it. That's how my grandpa does it. That's how my mom does it. That's how I do it. That's just how we do it -- my family and me. It's these traditions that truly make life sweet; these way-we-do-its passed down that separate the ordinary from the special. Food sometimes is an anchor to our past, and in this case, I can see my mom, young and wide-eyed with her grandpa in the kitchen. Him leaning down and saying, "now here's the secret."



The little things like remembering that her grandpa always made scrambled eggs with a pinch of sugar are the memories that we hold onto. And maybe, just maybe, it's the reason why homecooked meals tastes the best. They may not always be restaurant quality, but there's something about them that that's better than the fare of kings. They have memories and traditions baked into them that no restaurant can ever hope to come close to.


We all have our secret ingredients. This is one of mine.

30 comments :

  1. beautiful! we have a little secret ingredient in our house as well. :))
    -jocee <3

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  2. I just am in love with your writing and how it all comes together. Love it. This was so so sweet. There are no words to describe how lovely this is. :))

    Cindi

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  3. I love the pictures! Especially the one where someone is tossing cheese into the skillet on the eggs

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  4. This was one of the sweetest posts I have ever read. Thanks for blessing me today, Hannah.

    --Johanna
    serving tea and scones @ www.theoldfashionedgirl.com

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  5. I saw this post on facebook when I opened my internet browser to work on school (it's one of my home pages) and I told myself I needed to do my school first and then I could read this as a reward :) Yes. That's how much I adore your posts.
    xo

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  6. this is so sweet ,hannah. nothing beats a family tradition. beautifully written (and documented) per usual :)

    xo
    ky

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  7. Beautiful. I love how cooking tradition and recipes get passed down...

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  8. I've been obsessed with cheese eggs lately!! I might have to try this!

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  9. huh! sugar, huh? i'll have to try that out tomorrow ;) thanks for sharing! in my house, there's a secret ingredient for pretty much everything.

    xoxo,
    Jessica @ Diary of a Beautiful Soul

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  10. I knew I wasn't the only one! Sugar makes scrambled eggs so wonderful!!! The subtle sweetness goes great with parmesan cheese too!

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  11. Lovely!! That last picture is awesome!!

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  12. wow, I never would have guessed about the sugar! but I looove scrambled eggs made in big batches - for some reason, the more eggs, the better it tastes to me! I should come live with you :)
    lovely pictures as always! I love the third one, of the egg pouring into the bowl.

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  13. amen to secret ingredients. I have a secret ingredient for my brownies. except everyone knows what it is. yeah.
    these pictures make scrambled eggs look so nice! I personally think that scrambled eggs should be put to death, but your pictures make scrambled eggs look delicious!

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  14. I love this! Those little memories and traditions that are so fun to pass down, where the only answer to "why?" is..."because my mom did it." I may have to try a pinch of sugar in my scrambled eggs! You make me want to write down some of my own little family secrets (e.g., butter makes everything better, he-he)

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  15. Love this! My dad makes the best ribs, and I just recently found out his secret ingredient ;)

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  16. this is so sweet. you make me want to cook, but let's just say that cooking/baking is not my forte. (:

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  17. eggs with sugar. i HAVE to try this.

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  18. This is beautiful! and I will definitely have to try adding a pinch of sugar next time I make eggs!

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  19. I love this Hannah! The simple, family traditions that are so important were seen so well here. Beautiful. <3

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  20. Oooh I need to try this family secret of yours. =) Thanks for sharing

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  21. this post really made me smile! i love how it's about two of the most important things = food and family. :)

    p.s. i'm gonna try adding a pinch of sugar to my scrambled eggs. :)

    <3, Mimi
    http://whatmimiwrites.blogspot.com/

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  22. How beautiful pictures! I love scrambled eggs, but I've never tried them with sugar. Maybe the next time I will!

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  23. oh! I just loved this post! I love family traditions that are pasted down from generation to generation. They make you somehow feel connected to that person who started it. So wonderful. :)

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  24. i just found your blog, and i love it!!! and this post is awesome!!! :)

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  25. nothing beats perfectly prepared eggs!

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  26. Love this! All families have their special little thing, and I loved reading about it through something as simple as making eggs :)
    Your pictures are just fabulous, and... Hannah, have I ever mentioned how much I love your blog? It's pretty much my favorite on this planet, just so you know. Being a big sister to four, I have really learned from your blog how to be the best big sister possible :) I just wanted to tell you that you're incredibly inspiring. xoxo,
    Natalia

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  27. Family traditions are definitely special. Love yours, and the way you shared it. Beautiful. :)

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  28. Wow. That was such a nice post :) And I agree with everything.

    -ryan♥

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  29. This was so sweet. Yes! Traditions are neat! And I adore your photos. :)

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