As a child, I was surrounded by food. And not just your run-of-the-mill mac n’ cheese and PB&Js. No, my family’s kitchen table boasted freshly cooked lobster, homemade pasta, and oysters on the half shell for special occasions. Holidays were spent making homemade chocolates and creating dramatic vegetable platters. I was the lucky offspring of two culinary school graduates — with my father having made a career as an executive chef — so I was fortunate to be surrounded by good food and free cooking lessons.
As an adult, I love to cook and experiment with different dishes, whipping up experiments in my tiny Tahoe Vista kitchen. Not only does this help relieve stress at the end of a long day, but it keeps memories of my parents alive in my heart. They have both been gone for many years, but anytime I open up Julia Child’s cookbook to the recipe for Lobster Thermidor, I recall my father running around our Texas kitchen chasing after a lobster that had jumped off the counter, claws snapping in the air.
This month’s article on three local culinary classes (see story, here) had me recalling stories I was told of my father’s own culinary escapades. Like how he would serve whatever was cooked first at Thanksgiving, whether it was the turkey or the apple pie. Or how my mother would wake up in the middle of the night to find strands of homemade pasta hanging from knives in the kitchen cabinets. I recently found two vintage cookbooks owned by my father about recipes made with, ahem, marijuana. (Oh, the stories that must have come from those books!)
It’s important to keep the memories of those that have gone before us alive. Just as a Truckee mother whose son committed suicide wants the community to remember and learn from her child’s struggles (see story, here), the Lake Tahoe Society for Storytelling & Enlightenment created illustrated books to share Tahoe’s unique history (see Book It!, here).
So let’s keep those memories alive of those we have loved, whether in our hearts or in our community. As author Mitch Albom said in For One More Day, “Sharing tales of those we’ve lost is how we keep from really losing them.”