When I looked at you right after you were born, I didn’t think about the everyday, mundane things of life, like teaching you to cook.
I remember my aunt teaching me to cook. I was probably ten when I started helping her in the kitchen. Most often, my main job was to chop the nuts. I can remember staying up all night doing the baking for Christmas. No, really, alllll night. I remember flopping down on the sofa to eat an orange while she smoked a cigarette before going to bed. We joked that it would keep us from having to get up for breakfast.
I remember making her measure out the ingredients for her cornbread (which was almost like eating cake, it was so light and fluffy) and writing it on a napkin because it was the only thing to write on. I also remember that I lost the napkin before I ever made it home with it and I never remembered to get her to measure out the ingredients again so now I can’t make cornbread because she isn’t around anymore to give me the recipe.
I remember her cooking so many things that they wouldn’t all fit in the freezer, so we would switch out items every hour or so until the new things froze solid enough to stack other things on top. And laughing hysterically the whole time.
I would give anything to have a few more hours in the kitchen with my aunt. One of my most prized possessions is her handwritten cookbook. Some of those recipes we made together. Some I don’t remember at all. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is the connection to her I feel every time I use it.
Those are the kinds of memories I want us to have. The moments of creating something that will only last a little while, physically, but that will last forever in your mind. I hope that by writing down all these recipes, you will always be able to hear my voice next to you when you cook and that you, in turn, will pass the love of the kitchen down to the next generation.
I know that you don’t really read this now, but I hope that one day you will be glad to have it, the way I am glad to have that handwritten cookbook. And when you do read it, know that I was always writing it for you.