It's Family Day in Canada. I'm saying that for anyone who wouldn't know. Is there anything better than a long weekend in February? Having two quiet Sundays.
Yesterday, I found this in one of Theo's cooking binders, a book she might have started while working on a canaller on the St. Lawrence River in the 1930s. In her handwriting is one of my mother's recipes (which may have come from the German book in Time-Life's Foods of the World series).
Theo was an instinctive cook and could produce fabulous food with a scant description. But here, she takes every word down. Knowing when getting a recipe right called for all the directions.
Love ran between Theo and my mother. There was complicated human stuff too. But until Theo passed at 93, they were in regular contact. My mother still thinks of Theo and Harry as good parents. They gave her a love she needed.
To hear my mother talk about this red cabbage recipe is to know how much she loves it. It's imprinted on her — that luscious feeling. The next time I'm out in Strathmore, I'll make it and serve it with thick smoked pork chops. Watch her smile.
How much time do we have left together? An essential question with aging parents.
In life, I had difficulty with both women. There were periods with my mom and Theo when we weren't getting along (my mom's rebound husband was a doozy). But I didn't doubt the love and support.
So today, I'm owning having come from them. We are blood.
Theo and my mother on either side of my dad on their wedding day. Look at my dad in his Navy suit.
Standing above my grandmother is Pete Polino, my godfather. Just writing his name makes me smile. He was my dad's best friend. The stories about those two as teenagers are full of hi-jinx and adventure, and are hilarious. Pete's mother and grandmother were serious southern Italian cooks. You know why my dad hung around.
Happy Family Day.
Burt Bacharach. He made songs for all the best voices.
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