From an early age I saw her take out a small book, wrapped in dark leather, and write something down with an inscrutable smile as she cooked or ate. One day, she gave us exactly that enigmatic little book she had been keeping for years. A book in which she wrote all her wonderful epistles – we thought. Curious, we opened the first pages, and were surprised to find that again and again accurate cooking information was missing.
It was not a recipe book – but what was it?
Amazement was astonished as we took a closer look at the pages and noted that while details of work steps might be missing, the book revealed much more about one thing; a thing that was far more valuable than knowing if there was a pinch of salt: feelings. What our mother had done was fill a recipe book with moods. As if in a diary, she had captured in words the unique atmosphere that emerged every time we sat together and tried one of her newly created dishes; how my brother’s mood changed from initial skepticism, to thoughtfulness at the first bite, to shoveling in to try the dish. And, as so often, made us all laugh.
No matter what she prepared – she had never forgotten the most important ingredient in everything she had cooked for us: love.