This grief recipe story is brought to us by Julia Walsh of Laguna Niguel. Julia shares: “I am a teacher and gerontologist, a wife, mother, and a proud German Shorthaired Pointer owner. I enjoy gardening, cooking, butterflies, and genealogy. I am learning more about grief and loss every day.”
Food is important in our family. We connect across generations and show our love for each other by making favorite recipes at holidays or special occasions, or just whenever the family gets together.
My mother, Lorraine, was celebrated as our family’s best cook. She was always happiest when she was in the kitchen making food for all of us. Her grandchildren would watch in amazement, because she made everything look so easy, and she would throw together the ingredients without needing to check a recipe or stopping to think about it.
She learned to cook from her mother, Mary, and she patiently taught me her favorite recipes when I was a child. She even made a family cookbook with all of her favorite recipes, which is now a cherished keepsake.
My mother’s most famous recipe was what we call “The Almighty Rolls” because they were so good that eating them was an almost religious experience. The family would circle the kitchen when she was baking these rolls—to make sure that, when they came out of the oven, we were right there and ready to grab one hot. Of course, she would always make a double recipe so there was plenty for everyone to steal before dinner.
My mother died suddenly last November right before Thanksgiving and she left a hole in our family that we can never fill. As we approach the anniversary of her death, she is in our thoughts every day.
We honor her amazing life by doing the things she loved to do and sharing stories with each other. This year, and every year, we will be making her “Almighty Rolls” for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and every special occasion we have in our family.
I might shed a few tears when I am making her rolls, but I will also feel closer to her, and so proud of who she was— a wonderful, nurturing, loving presence in our lives.
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