The Taste of Memories

"What's for dinner?" I asked my mom this question every night as a kid. I was obsessed with her cooking. As I got older I would get home from school, make myself a quick dinner of english muffin pizza before I headed off to my four hour gymnastics practice. Afterwards, when I got home at 9:30pm, exhausted and sore, I would eat a second dinner of whatever Mom had made that night. It filled me up like nothing else could.

These are the things I think of now, as a working mom of two, just like she was. When I feel burdened by all of it I try to conjure up the image of her in the kitchen of my childhood home, buzzing about with the delicious aroma of homemade stuffed peppers filling the house.

I have an old, falling apart folder filled with many of her recipes, some of which have my dad's fax number on top - which means he brought these recipes to work and snuck in a quick personal fax so that I could get my hands on the Tropical Spinach Salad with Grilled Shrimp recipe. Always an intense rule follower, this little act of insubordination on my dad's part makes me smile.

I look at the date on that particular fax: 2006. Only ten years, but it seems so, so long ago. A dream almost. There are no more recipes faxed from Dad, as he died almost five years ago. And Mom's health has changed so significantly that she would not be physically able to write "Bridal Shower Dish!" today as she did on the page of that salad recipe ten years ago. Mom isn't able to cook anymore, either, which is heartbreaking for her and me both. Mom's cooking was a true and pure expression of her love. Lucky for me, I inherited this gift, the joy found in cooking and sharing, from her.