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April 5, 2021

I did not grow up around all my grandparents, but my dad’s mother lived close by in our little old town of Statesville, North Carolina. Her name was Bertha and she looked like a “Bertha.” She was outspoken, robust, and had the softest, curly brownish red hair that I loved to comb while she napped. My Grandma was a big girl, and she had a big personality. She was fiercely loyal to her only son, my dad, and they spent a lot of time together.

We would visit Grandma often and whenever we went to her house, she always had a jar of peppermints and butterscotch hard candies placed neatly on the coffee table. I was always shy about it but when she’d ask us if we wanted a piece of candy, I would go straight for the butterscotch. For years and years, she kept that same jar of butterscotch and peppermint candies replenished for me and my sisters to enjoy. It sat right there on her coffee table along with her Avon catalogues (she sold Avon cosmetics), her most recent copies of Ebony and Jet magazines, and her TV guide. Having a piece of butterscotch candy was part of my ritual when going to see Grandma. A lot of times we headed over to pick her up so that we could all go fishing. That was kind of our thing daddy, Grandma, and I. We loved to go fishing, and we loved to go see our family who lived down by the coast of North Carolina in and near a small town called Lumberton. Going to Grandma’s was always the start of a day or weekend adventure and so was having a piece (or two) of butterscotch candy.

That flavor holds such nostalgia for me now. When I decided to come up with another flavor of baklava to share with the world, my first thought went to the days of my childhood and what made me feel special…going to my Grandma’s house. She was always sitting out on the porch when we got there as if she was waiting for us to arrive.

My Grandma is long gone. She died when she was 84. My dad is gone now too. He died a few years back at the very young age of 72. In fact, today is his birthday. He was born on April 5, 1944. He would have been 77 years old today. Happy birthday, Daddy! Here’s to you and your darling mother who filled my life with wonderful childhood memories.

Enjoy your Butterscotch Rum Walnut baklava and when you’re putting together your own recipes, always add ingredients that bring you joyfulness and remind you of good times long past. That way when you eat whatever it is you’ve made the effort to create; your delight will be multifaceted.

Until next month, my baklava family!


Baklava Rita