December 6, 2006

My Family in Photographs

Thanksgiving Family Photo

Here is the entire Baldwin family…what a bunch of hams! As I have said my parents, besides running a cattle operation, my parents also owned and operated Baldwin School Portraits. The family business was my grandfather’s and eventually became my father’s business. It was operated in Springfield, Mo and was in business for more than 35 years. My father, brothers and sister-in-law, Kara all worked for the business.

In 2004, my dad sold the business to Lifetouch Studio’s, a large national company. It just goes to show, it is hard for the little guy to survive these days. It was smart for my family to sell the business because it took a lot of stress off my dad and my entire family. (NOTE: It’s never easy working with family, no matter how well you get along.)

My brothers and Kara still work for studio, which is now called Baldwin’s School Portraits by Lifetouch. As for my father, he is perfectly happy because now he is completely retired on the farm and his sons have a new business path to carry on.

To my point about telling about my family’s old business in photography….well we take a lot of photos in my family. I practically grew up with a camera in my face and now it’s the grandkids that are the little models in my mother’s camera lens.

Yes, my brothers and I had no choice when it came to picture time. Everything had to look right, our backs had to be straight, hair in order, smile perfect and eyes open wide and bright…then SNAP! Another family memory was snapped in time by the camera flash.

My dad used to tell us stories about taking photos all over the state of Missouri. He enjoyed his job because he only had three months of hard work and the rest of the time was spent on his own piece of heaven (the farm.) His job allowed him to spend time doing the things he loved (fishing, hunting, traveling, family) and he also was able to make a good living for his family.

Things have changed quite a bit, even since I was a youngster. But to me, if there is one thing that helps us remember our pasts, it’s those treasured photos we all possess. My father helped bring memories to families across Missouri through the school photos he took throughout the years. Now, my brothers do the same.

I can look through many of my family snapshots and remember the past just from a glance of a photo. Photos can tell a lot about a family….happy times, baby’s births, marriages, silliness between siblings. I love taking trips back in time through old family snapshots, each time I open any of my mother’s photo albums. I have started my own family albums since my husband and I were engaged.

Recipes also tell of a time long ago and can bring back old family memories just as photos do. From eating a piece of hot apple pie that reminds you of your grandmother cooling her pies on a window or cutting into a perfectly grilled steak and a memory of your father from a family bbq flashes by your thoughts. Recipes are a way for us all to connect with our past.

Please pass on your family recipes to future generations. If there is no one to snap that family photo or write down a cherished family recipe and teach it to a youngster….how will is be passed on to the next generation? This holiday pass on a recipe to your grandchildren or other family member, teach them the skill and love of cooking.

Here is a family recipe from my own kitchen. Try serving this pie in place of the traditional pumpkin pie this Christmas. It’s sure to be a hit!

Southern Classic Sweet Potato Pie
by Lane

1 1/2 cups sweet potato puree, cooled
2 eggs
4 T. melted butter
2 T. molasses syrup
1/3 cup light brown sugar
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. allspice
½ tsp. ginger
1 tsp. vanilla
¾ cup heavy cream

Pecan Topping:
1 cup brown sugar1/2 cup pecans2 T. all purpose flour3 T. melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl beat eggs, butter and sugar until combined with electric mixer. Add the rest of ingredients, except cream and beat on medium until smooth. Add cream and beat on low until combined.

Place pie in oven for 30 minutes. While pie is baking, mix up all ingredients for topping in a small bowl. After pie has baked for 30 minutes, sprinkle topping on top of pie and place back into oven for another 10 minutes. Pie is done when an inserted knife comes out clean.

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