Getting started…

I so don’t want to mess this up.

What does that even mean? Cook good food? Remember long-forgotten events? Experience insights and epiphanies that make me whole, that yield some worthwhile insight from all the loss and sadness?

I don’t know what this is supposed to be.  I feel so much pressure to pick the right “first recipe.”  Like it is some magical key that will unlock the hidden truths.  I remember eating some of the dishes in this box, but not many.  Not as many as I would like.  I’m torn between the hand-written cards, where the ink is obstructed by drops of spilled ingredients; the typewriter-written cards, with their slightly off-kilter text; the recipes cut out from magazines and stuck to the card with yellowed, crumbling tape.  The contents of this box are so diverse – pasta recipes gathered from Italian neighbors, fruitpunch made from frozen concentrate, “Better Than Sex Cake,” as featured in Playboy, 1984.

I guess that sort of fits, though.  My memories of my mom are so diverse.  She wore a mink coat and hosted dinner parties for my dad’s foreign colleagues, serving fancy dishes while my brother and I ate macaroni in the kitchen.  She also bought packages of Cub Foods bakery cookies, storing then in the freezer in an effort to keep herself from eating them all (but, of course, she just learned that they taste better frozen).  She drank wine from a box stored on top of the refrigerator, but finished meals with an expensive “after dinner drink.”  She was fiercely independent and strong, but put up with shit  for years.  She was so wise, but made stupid decisions that even a child could see.    

It seems odd that this is so difficult.  It doesn’t really matter, after all.  I’ve decided to cook every recipe; who cares which one is first? It doesn’t really matter, after all.  The past is gone.  It doesn’t really matter after all.  I’ll be a confused, 36-year-old woman, no matter how much food I make.  But for some reason, it does matter.  And I guess maybe that’s the point.  Making meaning.

So, I chose. Zucchini Cake and French Onion Soup…

Zucchini Cake & French Onion Soup

Zucchini Cake & French Onion Soup

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5 responses

  1. I wish we could all be there to taste this wondrous food. The successes, the failures, the “this is a keeper”, and the “what was she thinking” creations.
    Your words remind me that as scary as vulnerability is, many times it’s the only way to feel the feelings and get to a place of peace and betterment.
    Here’s to you Jamie and getting to that place.

  2. Jamie, I am really, REALLY looking forward to hearing about your journey! This was so touching to read. Interesting food choices…are you going to eat them together ?! 😉

    With mucho love from MN,
    -Lisa

  3. For someone who is “getting started,” you sure started off with a bang. Love this entry…Pretty much perfection. So you and so everything you ever told me about your mom. I, too, am really looking forward to following you in this journey/adventure/quest…whatever it is you want to call it, you know the end result will be something special for you and all of us. Thank you for being brave enough to share. XOXO

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