Usually, I’m posting about weddings, but today, I’ll take a break to talk about family! When you get married, your new family begins. Family is the whole reason why I’m a wedding filmmaker. There are so many memories we make together as a couple. These turn into stories we tell to our kids, our cousins, nieces, nephews, grandkids, etc.
So here’s a little story about how baking baklava, a buttery, flaky pastry, brought me joy.
My grandma would love to bake baklava with me when she came to visit for special occasions. For most people who enjoy baklava, it’s typically a holiday treat, but for us, it wasn’t just a sweet treat; it was a symbol of love, tradition, and the wisdom passed down through the years.
The process began with layers of delicate (and I mean delicate) phyllo dough, a canvas awaiting the strokes of melted butter and crushed nuts. (Although when I was a kid she had to take out the nuts and used mini chocolate chips and chopped, Medjool dates instead so I would eat it, haha. My tastebuds had to mature over time.) As Grandma meticulously layered each sheet, she shared stories of the importance of embracing life’s layers.
The nuts, a mixture of walnuts and pistachios, represented the challenges and triumphs we encounter in life. Grandma would say, “Just like the nuts, life can be tough and sometimes a bit nutty, but it’s the combination of experiences that makes it rich and fulfilling.”
The sweet honey syrup, drizzled generously over the baklava, symbolized the sweetness we find in relationships and the importance of cherishing our connections with others. Grandma would remind us, “Life is sweeter when shared with those you love.”
The baklava, now carefully assembled and ready for the oven, would bake to perfection, filling the air with anticipation. As we waited, Grandma would impart her most valuable life lesson: patience. “Like baklava, the best things in life take time. Be patient, and you’ll savor the sweetness of your efforts.”
The finished baklava, golden and glistening, was a masterpiece crafted not just with ingredients but with love, stories, and wisdom. As we enjoyed each bite, Grandma’s lessons lingered on our taste buds and in our hearts.
As of November 15, 2023, my Grandma is no longer with us, but her legacy lives on. Baklava has become more than just a dessert; it’s a reminder of the enduring love and timeless wisdom that Grandma shared.
So, the next time you find yourself in the kitchen, consider baking a batch of baklava. As you layer the phyllo dough, nuts, and syrup, reflect on the layers of your own life and where eat year has brought you to where you are right now. Embrace the challenges, savor the sweetness, and, above all, remember my Grandma’s timeless lesson: each year, like every layer to the baklava, adds a unique flavor to our lives.
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Kalu Ndukwe Kalu
The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.