Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Holy Grail

Finally. I've patiently waited for several months to have in my possession the holy grail of the cooking world. One simple little thing.

And here she is.

There's something certainly mystical and magical about this cookbook. Perhaps it's the recipes contained within the slightly aged pages. Perhaps it's the hand-written notes made by my father, with his near perfect penmanship, about cooking time, quantities and wine pairings. Like a '79 Chateau Lafite.

It seems my father found his niche in cooking from Julia's cookbook.

But perhaps the most magical element of this cookbook is this.

I'm ready to curl up on the couch and sift through the pages of this, the holy grail of cookbooks, to find some new favorites. Too bad I can't curl up with that '79 Chateau Lefite.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Darn You Gigi

I'd like to say there are only a handful of foods that inspire the vacancy of dietary responsibility. But, sadly, that would be an untruth of grand proportion. There are many foods that, just by their sheer sight or smell, cause me to abandon all respectable control (or any control for that matter). Foods like chocolate, or butter, and heavy cream, or potatoes and cheese. And then there's tender beef and succulent shrimp (bathed in butter), or bread and blue cheese. Oh, and don't forget ice cream made with real cream and toasted pecans on top. Maybe drizzled, no slathered, in homemade caramel sauce. Wait. I forgot bread pudding and it's trusty side-kick, bourbon cream sauce.

And now that I've made myself starved and hungry, I must confess a new-found weakness. But it is a weakness I pledge to abandon almost as quickly as I embraced it. At least I think so. (Especially since I indulged earlier today and can profess my strength in resistance.)

This weakness began several weeks ago at what I believed would be an innocent play date with the 18-month old son of friends. As they approached our front door, I noticed a large box carefully cradled in the hands of a dear woman, who I know under most circumstances would be carrying her son. But no. She was consumed with the cautious and tedious transport of delicacies. In her cradled arms was a box of Gigi's Cupcakes.

After carefully opening the box and viewing the 12 beautiful treats inside, then came the most difficult crossroads of my friendship with this dear woman – exactly which cupcake to consume first. There weren't words or gestures or movement. There was simply a moan of heavenly pleasure at the sinking of teeth into the fresh buttercream and dense cake. Resistance was futile and a complete waste of calories burned.

And yesterday on my way home from work, my car seemed to steer itself to Gigi's. I couldn't resist getting out of the car; there was some unidentifiable force pulling me off my bum and into Gigi's.

But today, all I can say is DARN YOU, GIGI! Darn you for being responsible for the width of my bum and thighs. Darn you for being so good. Darn you! Darn you over and over and over again. Darn you… until I see you again.
Where are the words? Where are the words to describe feelings that are scrambling around in my mind about how I'm missing my mother-in-law? How exactly do I capture the sadness of not being able to talk to her, or see her, or take a picture of her?

Only weeks have passed since Maryanne left this earth to join her Savior. But in those weeks I've been constantly reminded of the grace and peace she brought to so many people, and ultimately, came right back to her.

I had a dream earlier this week. In my dream I was sad that I couldn't see her. And then, all of a sudden, there she was; across a room and coming towards me. I was overwhelmed with happiness that I could see her. But in my dream, I couldn't talk to her. And how bizarre that in reality - especially in the finality of death - we can still talk to our loved ones, but not see them in the flesh.

I miss her humor.

I miss how she inspired me.

I miss her laughter.

I miss her cooking.

I miss her, terribly.