Thursday, January 22, 2015

The legacy continues ( part 1)...

Its been three weeks since mother left this earth and this is the blog I didn't want to write.
This is the blog that had so many, many thoughts wrapped up in a thousand memories.
I had the words for this blog in October and November and yet somehow couldn't write it.
Strangest part is I couldn't write because there was a need for completion in order to write despite that rapid unraveling of my life.

My life has completely unraveled as I know it. It feels like a beautifully woven rug that has suddenly run out of  one color. Now the weaving continues and yet it continues just without the green or the red and I'm left deciding if it is still beautiful without that beautiful color winding in and around all the other shapes and designs. There is a definite absence of that beauty and design and yet I see her face everywhere, I see her hand all over my house, I feel her presence at their house, my brother's house and mine. And there are tender kisses and gentle reminders of a great love and a creative spirit and gracious giver no matter what I do..

Its been three weeks since mom left this earth.  In the time since I have had some time off. I have been writing, cooking, going through the bags of things that she started giving me back in October, finishing projects that have been put off for months due to family demands. I started with cooking thinking this would be a nice distraction, because it's always been a stress reliever and great fun for me.

I have always teased that mom didn't teach me how to cook. Growing up I was borderline banished from making anything beyond macaroni or tuna sandwiches. I was horribly messy and inattentive in the kitchen, and to my accomplished home-economics mother, this could not be born in her home. I went to college and started cooking the basics, steamed vegetables, chicken and various box dinners. I knew that things could be better because I was raised on better. Between working at Italian restaurants and calling mom I eventually figured out how to collaborate my taste buds and attention span and became a pretty decent cook. Mom and I then developed a hobby of trying to duplicate favorite dishes that we would have in various restaurants. This became my stress relief through college and graduate school. I may not have had time to live like a socialite but at least I could cook like food like I was one, and mom was with me for the tastetests.

So to de-stress these past weeks I went to the kitchen.  The first venture was homemade chicken noodle soup, complete with handmade egg noodles. I made a double batch and  I went through the process of boiling the chickens for homemade broth because as mom always taught me the soup is only as good as the broth and chicken in it.

Then I moved on to decadent french toast. As I blew Mikes socks off with recipe I went on to explain this was mom's recipe that she started making when I was in high school with old french bread.  Next, I made was cremed brulee. This was one of my favorite dishes to make with mom. As I was deciding whether to do a water bath or double boiler I recalled all of our variations of successes and failures we had with double boilers when we would make cremed brulee together. I opted for the water bath with some pralined pecans on top and the custards were fantastic.

The next desired cooking project of the last 3 months was to master cheesecake. I had only managed to find mediocre recipes that flopped in my previous attempts. I had initially hoped to make it for dad for his birthday in November but now its January. To the internet I went, seeking out recipes that resembled the best one I knew- my mom's. It had orange peel in the crust and lemon zest in the cake itself.  I found part of a copy of mom's recipe as guide and proceeded to make a Raspberry Cheesecake that I found by Ina Garten. The final product was just as good my childhood memory had tasted. Light in texture, creamy in the center, dense on the edges, slightly tart and so delicious. Needless to say I blew Mikes mind with this one.

So yes there are other projects that have been undertaken these past weeks as well and I will get to that, but my kitchen has become one of my many healing places.  It was supposed to be my break, my distraction while I did other harder things that reminded me of mom, but instead she showed up in my kitchen.  And I see the tapestry weaving now as beautiful as ever, the glow of mom's beautiful presence is still there, it never went away. Jeff and I both carry so much of her in us and we can't hide or hide from it really.  I can't help but being touched by God's tenderness as I see the legacy of mom continues to show up everywhere, even the kitchen.

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