"I don't know. When I go there, I will come back and tell you, all right?"
Maria Theresa - known in the USA as "Tessie" died when I was 11. There was so much I didn't know. So much I am finding out - about all my grandparents and great grandparents.
Yesterday, I came home from a challenging and poignant day. I put my pots on the stove and improvised. I thought a lot about why I cook. And why it has grown in importance the older I get. Yes, I love to eat. Yes, I want to pass down my heritage to my children; "yes" to all answers regarding cooking and family and organics and local ...
I have been researching the foods and recipes of Basilicata. Grandma did not hand down any recipes. It was all what was fresh, what was handy and all was cooked according to what was "right" by the seeing and "delicious" by the tasting.
I added some oil to my pot. Sliced cabbages and onions and thyme. Threw in a pad of Earth Balance butter for creaminess. Sauteed. Added some wine. Simmered. Added some orange juice. Stood over the stove. Stirred. Added the salmon.
How could I have not realized that I cook to find my grandparents... that I cook to talk to them because I was too little when they were here or they were gone before I was here. I cook to find them and ask them questions.
Grandma did not come back to tell me what heaven was like. Or, I missed the call. But she's inside me, guiding me... telling to to look, taste and feel. Throw away the recipe and pay attention to what you are doing.
When I cook, I am doing something that has been done through the ages. I am connected. And I have many guides, many loves and a wealth of inspiration.