My mother died in 1996 after two years with a terminal brain tumor.  I was 18-years-old at the time.  I remember telling myself that she was old, and that all old people die.  I remember wondering who I was, now that I was no longer “Binky’s daughter.”  I remember running down the hospital hallway in my stocking feet, frantically trying to outrun the inevitable.  And I remember sobbing in the stairwell when I couldn’t run anymore, waiting for the world to end.

But it didn’t.  Another 18 years have passed.  I’ve now been without her for as long as I was with her.  In some ways, the view is very different from here.  I now see her from the viewpoint of a grown woman, and I’m attuned to her complexities and struggles in a way I couldn’t be as a girl.  But I also maintain simplistic snapshots of this beautiful woman who was my mother: listening to her fancy shoes click on the linoleum; seeing her sip mysterious drinks that smelled terrible, but I longed to taste; watching her host dinner parties, compliments and laughter becoming more and more free-flowing as the night wore on.

I recently found my mother’s recipe box.  The cold metal, the smell of old notecards, the curves of her penmanship…it flooded me with melancholy and nostalgia.  I long to know her better, to understand her more, to feel more connected.  And, I’m acutely aware that the opportunity has largely passed.  I decided that I would start a quest to cook each of her recipes.  Every one in the box.  I have not historically been much of a cook, but I want to try.

I figured I’d blog as a way to document the experience for myself, and as a way to share one aspect of a woman who left the world too soon.  I hope you find some food you enjoy.


8 responses

  1. I’m soo sorry I had no idea but I love cooking and I can’t wait to hear about the recipes andvtry them myself!!!!!! Awesome writing too 🙂

  2. It’s making me sad just to see that I too have the same recipe box. I only hope my daughter would loving think of me the same way you are. I lost my mother in 1997

    • I’m sorry for your membership in this odd, longing, confusing subculture that is us motherless daughters. I like the cold metal recipe box. Feels ageless, unchanging. I like that someone else has the same one 🙂

    • Such a cool idea, Jamie! Your first post is so moving, and evidence that you are a terrific writer. Your Mother raised a formidable woman and I’m sure she’ll be by your side as you prepare her recipes. Looking forward to reading more. Love you!

    • Thank you so much for your kind thoughts. The truth is, I’ve cooked, I’ve photographed….but I’m terrified to write. I dot know why, but I am. You are a kind, encouraging sign. You have no idea how much your words mean. Thank you.

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