When I started college, I missed my mother’s cooking, so wholeheartedly. Even now, I wish I could fly home for dinner sometimes. So I had to do something, the difficult thing that marks growing up: I had to give myself all the love and care my mother had given me in those meals. I had to create them myself. (I acknowledge the privilege of that statement– from being able to go to college, to having a mother cook for me up to the minute I left home at 18, to be blessed enough to know what good food is and be able to afford it). During this transition, I started writing down all those recipes I love inside a hardbound journal. In reality, those recipes were stored in my mother’s head, on miscellaneous index cards stuck in books and cupboards, and printed randomly in an assortment of cookbooks. I picked my favorites, sought them out, asked my mother to tell them to me, and compiled, filled a book with my own handwriting and my mother’s heart– all those meals she cooked me in love.
To this day, I add new recipes to this book — from friends, from neighbors, and from family — and it moves with me wherever I go. It makes me feel that I have saved a piece of my history and childhood and my mother in one place and that I can pull it out whenever I like and re-create the beautiful therein.