I had a moment of profound sadness this morning while lying in bed. I was thinking of my upcoming trip to the grocery store. I was thinking that I am so bored with the current repetoire and I need to try some new recipes. Then I started thinking about my favorite cookbook - Hollyhocks & Radishes.
This got me thinking about a conversation I had with my mother-in-law and her sister (my aunt-in-law?) last year about this time.
The three of us had begun to meet up a few times, every couple of weeks or so for Happy Hour. It was a fun time when I really felt like I was getting to know the both of them a bit better. On a more personal & adult level. Without husbands, significant others or children around, the conversation was often different and more intimate that I had experienced with these two incredible women before. I enjoyed those times immensely.
We started talking about the aforementioned cookbook as Joan (A-I-L) had given it to me at a bridal shower she hosted for me. I was gushing about it as was she as my MIL sat unknowing. Joan had mentioned it is one of her favorite gifts to give people as it's such a unique book. But Carolyn had never received this book & began to question Joan as to why.
I made it a point to stick in my brain that next year (this year) I would give her a copy for Mother's day (if Joan didn't beat me to the punch).
Now, it is a year later. Mother's Day looms on the horizon and instead of thinking of buying this cookbook for her, I'm wondering who's going to pack up all her cookbooks as she likely won't ever use them again. She & her SO (Roger) will be moving in less than a month to an assisted living facility. Her life has been irrevocably changed since the brain hemorrhage last June. She probably won't ever cook for herself or others again (although we all continue to pray for a miracle). Right now she isn't even eating solid foods but is fed through a tube directly into her stomach (another thing I have learned to not take for granted this year - eating).
It makes me so sad when I think of all the times we spent hanging out around her kitchen island as she cooked a meal - big or small, fancy or casual. She was very talented in the kitchen and I tried many things at her home that I had never tried before. Many of her recipes I've started to make myself (although, I'm sure Steve will attest, nobody's cooking is as good as Mom's).
So, I have picked two recipes from Hollyhocks & Radishes to make this week. I wish that I could share these meals, these recipes with her. My heart is heavy.
One is an old favorite: Jean's Chicken Dinner Casserole and the other is a new recipe: Thelma's Oven-Fried Lemon Chicken. They're both on my cooking blog should you care to try them.