Mother's Day Recipes
The kitchen was a sacred place for my mother-in-law. After her passing, being in her kitchen has felt even more like I’m walking on hallowed ground. Out of this kitchen she fed what honestly could be thousands of people over the course of hundreds of meals and parties during the 30 years she cooked in this house. She baked thousands of cookies, over a hundred easter calzones, and served countless Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas breakfasts.
Cooking virtually every meal of every day in this kitchen since the quarantine began has allowed me to spend quality time with her, even though she’s not here. Whether it’s the knife she always used, with her hands always manicured and decked out in jewelry, or the tongs, the same set she had gotten me as a gift a few christmases ago. She is present in every part of this kitchen. Tucked away in drawers, cabinets, and folders we found pages and pages of recipes she had clipped from papers, magazines, and the internet. Saved in documents on her computer, we found favorite recipes she had typed up to share with friends, including her notes, and jokes. Along with the recipes came grocery lists and menus for the giant parties she loved and lived to host.
Beyond the clippings were an even more treasured stack of handwritten recipes she held onto from her mother. Someone I never had the honor to meet, but somehow feel connected to through her legendary gravy (tomato sauce for my fellow non Italian-Americans), a labor of love recipe Jenny’s aunt made for us, and has now shared the recipe. At first we weren’t sure what to do with all of the recipe clippings but then we realized even these random recipes carry meaning. In her clipping we know it was something she either made, wanted to make one day, or simply struck her as special.
So we’ve kept them, to be sorted eventually, and to be made. We’ll draw random recipes out of whatever we decide to contain them in, and cook them. Maybe it’s a way she can be with us in our kitchen in New York once we go back. (Though she supplied us with so many things in that kitchen it will be impossible not to think of her there all the time too.) Cooking, for many people, has always been a connection to the past. A connection to our culture, heritage and identity. A connection to our mothers, and grandmothers. Most importantly a connection to loved ones who are no longer with us.