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.