I the past, I have written about how cooking from scratch has made me feel more connected to my family history. By exploring my paternal grandmother’s cookbook, I have come to feel more connected to her and I can better picture what life was like when she was a chef at her finest. There are plenty of stories similar to this, scattered between blogs and books and websites. The person in question doesn’t have to be a direct relative. Perhaps the most famous example of this currently is displayed in the movie Julie Julia. By cooking every recipe in Julia Child’s cook book, New Yorker Julie Powell begins to feel like she knows Julia Child in ways she never could have imagined. To be frank, food is life. And how we cook is how we experience life.
As I have mentioned before, I am not the most social of people. A result of this is that my cooking connection with my grandmother happened a little later than would have been ideal. My grandmother died over 4 years ago. She’ll never know how much I enjoy cooking her mound bars and cornflake dream bars, or how I plan to use these recipes for years to come. I think she would have liked it. How fortunate her recipes were documented, so that I could bake them later.
But what if they hadn’t been?
How often do we attend family meetings or gathering of friends, and are warmed both insides and out by some specialty dish? How often do we lose family members/friends too early, and when gathering with who remains, feel like something, as well as someone, is missing? Memory can be more than just words and pictures. It can be taste, and smell, and touch. But to get at these memories, we have to ask for them at the right time.
My grandmother wrote down her recipes because a family member asked her to. The recipes of those passed are precious in more ways than one, but we can only be sure of getting them if that person is asked while they are still alive.
Time is precious.
So spend time with the favorite chefs in your life. Learn from them. Ask questions, and make sure the answers are documented. It is possible for those before us to leave a legacy that lingers, from gathering to gathering. A legacy that fills the house of whoever picks up the mantel with sweet and savory smells, and a good taste left behind. What more, after generations, could anyone ask for?
This post is dedicated to my Aunt Sherry, who has the curse of leaving us too early, but the gift of knowing when. This has motivated me to ask, while there is still time, for her famous brownie recipe. Very Sherry-esque, though she can no longer eat them, she packaged up a last batch for me, and sent them along with a hand written recipe card. Next family reunion I intend to bake them. For my own reference, and for our whole families, may I present a little sweet legacy: Sherry Schacht’s Double Chocolate Brownies.
This week in updates: Everything is happening NOW
No receipt this week because I’m going to Unit Health Promotion Coordinator C School next week! My college class is in full swing though my professor cannot seem to comprehend that I need to work ahead this week because I’ll be busy all the next. All I want is the homework problems for next week NOW instead of on Monday. Is that too much to ask? I asked for them LAST MONDAY! I did my first straight 54 mile bike ride yesterday (I wanted to do 60 but I hit a dead end and it was getting dark) and was greeted when I got home with a perfectly toasted burrito, flax seed chips, coconut water, a peanut butter protein bar, and a fair trade dark chocolate bar. I ate almost all of it, to Jesse’s amazement. Oh yeah, Jesse has been here all week. Can you say I’m happy but sleep deprived, overworked, and a little overwhelmed? Yeah, you could say that.
The Recipe: Sherry Schacht’s Double Chocolate Brownies
These are by far the best brownies I’ve ever had. Super chocolaty, moist, and just the right amount of chewy. My favorite thing to do is to freeze them, and then I can enjoy them at my leisure, and the texture becomes just like fudge. Except better. It’s kind of hard to explain. You’ll just have to make them yourself!