February 10, 2015

Those of you who are readers of this forum know that I like to keep things fun, light, informative and a bit irreverent. This writing, however, will serve as a remembrance of my recently deceased mother.  Why would I choose to post something here since the more traditional memorials and celebration of her life have already taken place? It was her influence that inspired my love of food, wine and cooking.

Ever since I can remember, I was always a bit obsessed with everything that makes up the food and wine worlds. No, we were never a family who had any professional connection in that regard although growing up my mother would cook dinner for the family three to four times a week. Looking back I now realize how much I enjoyed the aromas of the kitchen and looked forward to each meal. Thanksgiving was always my favorite. I couldn’t help interjecting myself into this multi-day preparation which at its height saw my parents play host to over twenty people, twenty-six pounds of turkey, seven pounds of ham and what seemed like buckets of hard liquor and wine. Not that all this home cooking overshadowed eating out. Restaurants were always a big part of the family’s culinary landscape; from a casual burger joint to the finest formal French dining, at home or on vacation.  Even when not eating, somehow the conversation would inevitably turn to food or wine and did so with greater frequency as the years passed. While my mother served as my source, this love of things culinary goes back generations to my grandfather who had no issue driving for hours to find whatever food sparked his interest at that moment-yes, I am equally as guilty- and to my great grandfather who spent decades raising beef cattle which he would then sell in his butcher shops around New York City. I guess it’s truly in the blood.

It’s always sad when anyone passes no matter what the age but if we hold on to the memories and take a minute to focus on how the departed influenced our lives perhaps it will ease the pain and put a smile on our faces.

Let’s raise a glass to mothers, grandmothers, fathers and grandfathers and whoever else served as an inspiration to the eater and drinker in each one of us.