Even as a little girl I remember my Mother teaching me in the kitchen. I don't think I really knew how much I would like cooking someday back then. All I knew, was that I loved helping her and being at her side. I would watch her carefully measure out flour. She would plunge the flour cup into the bag and emerge with a heaping pile but then would delicately take a butter knife and tap and scrape off the overflowing mound until it was perfectly flush with the measuring cup. I still do that! It was because of watching my Mother.
Our family had many favorite recipes. Of course, one of my favorites were her ranger cookies! They were crunchy, sweet and full of chocolate. They barely had the chance to cool down we got to them so fast. I love the way food conjures up memories. Growing up my family would go hiking and when we went we would always take with us picnic logs. Picnic logs are a baked buttery pastry filled with crumbled bacon, green onions, sharp cheddar cheese, and chopped chicken. They fit perfectly into a backpack or picnic basket. When I go hiking today, there's almost an expectation in my heart that there should be picnic logs! I have such fond memories every time I eat one. I instantly go back to being outside in nature with my family.
I also remember making big servings of lasagna with my Mom. Usually when we did this, I knew we were having friends over! It would be a feast! And I got to be part of it. I helped her prepare the many layers. We would mix cottage cheese and fresh parsley. We would saute sausage and beef with onions and garlic . We would grate fresh Parmesan. Then we would carefully lay out the cooked lasagna noodles so not as to tear a one.
I have so many recipes that are so dear to my heart because of her. Whether it is her fresh guacamole, fruit pizza, or gumdrop cookie recipe, I can make it even now and go instantly back to those special moments we had in the kitchen. Today marks the fifth year anniversary of my Mother's death, or as I like to say, her celebration of everlasting life. I miss her dearly. Her big smile and enthusiasm for life and faith, however, is not lost to me. She continues to be an inspiration in my life. I can see her in myself, in my Sisters, in my Aunts and Uncles, in my Grandmother, in my Father, and in our friends. What a blessing and gift.
Today, I reflect on the many memories she's given me and I smile. I'd imagine she would be reading this blog and getting excited about what she's planted in her own garden and how it's growing. I love this picture of her and I. This happiness is eternal and is exactly the way I remember us. I am so thankful for my Mother. Even in the gentlest breeze, she is still teaching me.