One of Cliff's lovely auties passed this week. Jeannine was a truly lovely lady. The first time I met her, she wanted to know who I was, who were my family, and that I was going to take good care of Cliff. It was love at first sight. This lady made me feel like family.
Jeannine was buried at the family plot on the old family farm. I wanted to go, and of course you have to bring food for the luncheon afterwards. It's funny how sometimes you get one of those Kevin Bacon 6 degrees of separation things. As I was driving into town to get fresh mozzarella, NPR was doing a story on a childhood memory of the author and her lovely Armenian neighbor and how she would teach the author about cooking, and at the same time share life experiences and lessons.
All of this brought me back to my mother and what she taught me under the guise of cooking together. My Mom taught me that cooking good food was an act of love. Not just providing good nutrition, but in spending time and teaching me about life and what was important.
I was going to the City to buy fresh mozzarella because my Mom taught me to do things well. This lunch was going to be outside in 95 degree heat. People were going to be hot- and a nice caprese salad would be light, refreshing and safe. But if you really cared, the ingredients of course had to be the best, tomatoes and basil picked that morning, and mozzarella that was just made.
That show had me remembering my Mom trying to teach me how to make these luscious Norwegian pastries called Kringla. Kringla is a breakfast pastry made with sour cream. There is no definitive recipe as things like humidity, altitude, quality of the sour cream can make the amounts and cooking time vary greatly. It all had to be properly blended as kneading too little would give lumps, and too much would make the pastries tough.
I never mastered Kringla. Deep in my heart I think its because once I mastered it, she'd stop trying to teach me. It really wasn't the pastries that mattered, it was the time and the stories we shared.
I want one of her pastries so bad that I'd give my tt bike for one...
It's funny how some days you get a perfect storm of feeling. The loss of this lovely lady, a simple story on NPR, and the ache that continues with the loss of my Mom. I don't remember much of the stuff that my Mom gave me. Not toys, or books, and materials things like that. What I remember most, and treasure most, is the TIME and love that she gave me.
So cook with your kids. Your kids will forget Ipods, and Play Stations. They won't forget you.