Posse! This past Saturday was my birthday – and it was a milestone! Not in that ‘you’re XX (XXX) years old!! way, but a quieter, more reflective way – at least for me. This year I’ve been the same age as my mother was when she died. And now I’m not that anymore – I’m a year older (because, to quote my papi, ‘you get old – or you get dead’ – and I’ll take ‘Old’ for $400, Alex. At least for now (fingers crossed it stays this way). But it has been an odd year, full of superstitions, full of memories… full of personal reflections.
The personal reflections were, as you can imagine, full of comparisons between my mother’s life and my own. And what was interesting was the realization that we aren’t all that dissimilar – both of us have/had that incendiary rage, inherited from my maternal grandmother who, allegedly, killed a man in her restaurant, slapping him in the head… with a cast iron skillet. Welp!
at least we all are/were decent cooks. Right? (we iz sum murderizin’ bishes, though. Must be why I love Shelley Laurenston’s shifter women so much – They. Do. NOT. Play.)
I never met my maternal grandmother but something tells me I would’ve loved her! I still have her cast iron skillets, though, which I use on the daily. TO COOK WITH. so far..
Once my actual birthdate rolled around (and I had to roll out of bed at 3a to help set up for a 5k, so I had a minute or two to reflect on how I was feeling. Tired. I was feeling tired. 3am is EARLY)… I realized that I felt much lighter than I had whenever I thought of the dovetailing during the past year – the niggling thoughts ‘would I survive past my mother’s death time?’ (answer : yes). Insane little subroutines of worry and reflection (my several failed marriages/relationships v. my mother’s…. well… nebber mind) – all of that just vanished!
After the race (I wore great lashings of vinty No5 to hand out race packets) I made several lasagnas for friends – one of them is a hunter and sent over several pounds of ground venison so after bleeding the meat (omg. M. Jacques lost his SH!T when he got to eat the blood. Dogs are weird.)I made a mushroom duxelles (this was a bechamel-based lasagne – no tomato) and a venison sausage gravy in lieu of traditional meat sauce.
Why am I telling you this? Well this part of the ‘ personal reflection ‘ was totally positive. From the venison to the smoked salt to the utensils and bakers I used… every bit of it was given to me in love and affection. Memories of who gave me X just bubbled up, as I mixed the mushrooms and ricotta (adding a bit of dried apricot to the mix really lifts it up – bleeding the meat ensures a white gravy – not a pink one… I thought about the gifts I’ve been given over the years – beloved old friends supporting my burgeoning cooking life, beloved new friends supporting and helping me through the challenges of living here – and giving me a reason to cook again…
So much has changed for me, since my mother’s passing – I’ve had my heart broken, learned to love again, had my finances shattered, picked it up and put it back together, one step at a time.
Learned to appreciate life again.
Missed my mother just a little bit. Wished I could’ve known her mother.
Learned to better prepare wild game (thanks, Chef Alan S!)
Became vegetarian-adjacent (sort of) but can still field dress a deer without puking (yay! A useful skill – I love those)
Wore great lashings of vinty No 5.
Still taking ‘Old’ for $400, Alex – for as long as I can.