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…