When I try to remember something specific, what pops into my head are memories with my Mom and Dad. Let's start with my hero and my superstar, Mrs. Wong. My mother worked the graveyard shift in the ER when my brother and I were kids so she could spend time with us in the day. My mother might single-handedly be the craftiest self taught cook and homemaker I know. She'd come home from work at seven in the morning and bake something spectacular for us to take to school to give to our teachers (the other kids called me and my bro brown-nosers).
You've heard about apples for the teacher, right? Try double fudge brownies with a peanut butter swirl, or Oreo cheesecake. In and of that, she became famous around our small town for her culinary genius, making tasty treats year 'round, but giving gifts beyond fruitcake around the holidays. For a few years, she got into making bread dough ornaments for the tree. She'd shape and bake the bread dough, then use paints and polyurethane to finish and decorate the ornaments: everything from Siamese cats to Raggedy Ann and Andy. She has also created several gingerbread house masterpieces over the years. Quite the candy architect. All beautiful gifts for friends and teachers. Some people even got into collecting my Mom's ornaments.