Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sometimes food is more than food....

Dear Mom,
I made matzohbrei this morning and thought of you....standing there in your blue robe, the skin on your arms grown almost paper thin, your nails perfectly polished. You held the spatula and waited patiently as the egg and matzoh mixture simmered slowly. Periodically you would carefully lift an edge and peer under to see if the underside was done - a toasty golden brown.

I see you in your kitchen, surrounded by the things of your life - your Good Housekeeping cookbook, the small, cream-colored pitcher with the gold band around it, the beautiful cobalt and white bowl in which you kept fruit - bananas for dad's cereal, oranges because you lived in Florida at the time and could get them even sweeter than those of my childhood...perhaps grapes, if they looked good. New things are in that kitchen, too -- your George Forman grill (did you use it more than once?) and a brand new, red tea kettle. ("Please drain and dry it after using it!")The radio is on, playing classical music softly in the background, (sorry, but I had to change it from that "elevator music" that you had going when I first arrived. Not that you minded classical, but the elevator stuff was much more consistent, like a daily dose of oatmeal), and we sat down to eat off your Blue Danube dishes.I have those dishes today, but not the tall, clear plastic pepper mill in which you kept black and white pepper corns, which I used in abundance on my matzohbrei. Nor do I have the etched crystal glasses with the round blue bases - almost like wine glasses without stems. I don't have the beautiful linen tablecloth and napkins, or the "good" silverware we used for our seders. And most importantly, I don't have you.Are there foods which play an important role in your life - not because they are elegant, or complex and rich, but because they evoke your childhood?

20 comments:

Anh said...

This is such a touching post. I love everything about it.

Toni said...

Thanks, Anh. And thanks for stopping by my blog.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Lovely post that made me cry a bit and call my mum, who is 86. Beautiful, Toni, and your love for your mother shines through.

Mimi

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Beautiful post. In my family, dad (no longer with us) was the matzoh brei king, and whenever I make it, as I do only at this time of year, I think of him.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Oh Toni ... but we have these wonderful memories of our moms ... still I often close my eyes and try to conjure up the feel of her hug.

myfrenchkitchen said...

So beautiful toni...I can feel the presence of your mom...hear her say...rinse and dry! And a lovely dish and plate...
Ronelle

Toni said...

Mimi - I'm glad you called your mom. We no longer live in multi-generational homes, so we don't always keep in touch as often as our grandparents did.

Lydia - My dad was the gardener. For me, it's the taste of a vine ripe tomato that brings him into sharp focus.

Tanna - Yes, we must conjure up those hugs when they're no longer available to us in person.

Ronelle - Thanks. Yes, in her kitchen, things had to be washed AND dried - and put away. She was far better organized than I am!

katiez said...

For me it's pancakes with maple syrup on Blue Willow plates - different, but the same ;-))
Lovely post!

Toni said...

Katie - I think we all have these touchstones. And I doubt if our moms ever knew how important the little things of "la vie quotidien" were.

Brett Sutcliffe said...

I miss my mum's cook. Thank you for sharing your feeling.

Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen said...

Yes, food is magical in being able to bring back the past so vividly. What a beautiful post.

Toni said...

Brett - Thanks for stopping by.

Jenn - Thanks!

Lori said...

I think I enjoy all the thoughts and feelings that surround food rather than the food itself. There are many that bring back memories for me.

Toni said...

Lori - That's interesting...I understand that sometimes the memories are more powerful than the food involved, but for me, eating the food is part of the memory.

tasteofbeirut said...

Lovely post and very evocative writing I could picture the scene so perfectly!

Cynthia said...

Very moving. When I first moved to Barbados, I found myself making all the dishes my mom likes...

♥¸¸.•*¨Skip to Malou¨¨*•.¸¸♥¸ said...

i am moved by this post... now where's the tissue? haha but seeriously, this post made me miss my mom terribly. and living half a world apart makes me miss her all the more...

Toni said...

Joumana - Thanks! I'm sure you've got a rich and beautiful history to share with us...

Cynthia - Yes, food is quite a link to our past, our memories, our family.

Malou - I understand - at least as well as I can. My sister-in-law lives half a world away from her family as well. Very difficult..

Rachael said...

I love you.

Toni said...

Rachael - It's mutual, my dear....