Unfortunately, I have lost a great Uncle. I barely knew him, but in times like these, you always wish you had spoken to them more, or gotten to know them. It was an accident which, so tragically, ended his ripe life at 79, so who knows how much longer he would have lasted.
As I sit and think about him, my mind keeps going back to his stuff. Things. Property of his which is now being handed out, according to his wishes, as keepsakes and heirlooms. I sit and watch the silver and china being sent to nieces across the country, help to move large pieces of furniture, and even box up the small knick knacks of a life lived and cant help but wonder what to me is most important.
Many people have the fortune of one of the most important heirlooms and don't realize it. I'm talking about something that is as valuable as any fancy cabinet, I'm speaking about recipes. paper evidence of your ancestors nourishment and prosperity.
It is something which is more important in some families than others, but the family tradition of cooking is passed down. Ever wonder why, as you sit in a murky funk at your school cafeteria, why they cant seem to make mashed potatoes like your mom? That's your history your comparing to. Your mom is not a magic woman, but she is the keeper of knowledge which you should seek out.
I write this post at home with a dreamy scent filling the air. When I inhale deeply, I can smell the tradition of my family on my dad's side, my child hood, my adolescents, and my future all at the same time. To the casual onlooker or guest, it is just a pot of tomato sauce (they, of course, think theirs is better) but to me its so much more than that. That is MY tomato sauce, and when I have kids, it will be theirs.
I dont want to fight with my brothers over the possessions of other peoples lives. I don't want to be eating off a table hundreds of years old, with silver, handed down generations, trying to remember how my mother made her poppy seed dumplings which I love so much over chicken. I want to receive phone calls from my kids one day saying how they miss my cooking and cant wait to be home, like my mother had from me.
My mission to you: You know that simple side dish you had growing up? That rice, noodle, potato, or soup that you loved so much? Get that recipe and make it this week.