I started baking with my Omi (affectionate German word for grandmother) when I was very young. It all started with a gingerbread house. Every year before christmas, Omi would show my sister and me how to pipe icing to look like snow and icicles. She taught me everything my little hands could handle. I also learned that nothing brings family together like a good meal and, for the adults, maybe a good shot of Jaegermeister, a family tradition.
Born in Germany on May 29, 1934, Omi made money by drawing, painting, and selling greeting cards to those in her little village. She moved to the United States with my Opi (grandfather), my uncle, and my mother from Germany after World War II.
Omi took art classes and worked at a bakery until she retired. She combined her skills when the cake decorator came in belligerently drunk. The owner, in a panic, asked if anyone could take over. Omi, who had just been doing simple baking, raised her hand and was given the job. She would eventually win many awards for her baking and decorating skills.
She would always bake a cake for any occasion, no matter how small. Birthdays promised an extra special treat.
She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease which caused involuntary muscle movements. Her hands started to shake, and she needed more help in the kitchen. As her condition worsened, she told me that I would be the one to bake for the family like she did. She would hover over me in the kitchen and give me little bits of advice.
She passed away on November 29, 2015. I do my best to keep her memory alive through my art, my cooking, and especially my baking.
This is her legacy, and this blog is for her.