I can see my mother standing at the kitchen sink, and the lovely window edged with white curtains that gazed in to the garden. The ribbed glass cabinet doors, the right edge chipped, but worn smooth. Plates stacked in sequence of size, teacups dangled from the hooks above the juice glasses. Her black hair, short and tucked behind her perfect ears. The curve of her back under the pink sweater set and her apron tied with a bow at the back. I imagine her hands as she washed them under the tap and wiped them on her apron. The same hands that held mine.
Her recipes are within me, like pieces of her. A weathered yellow bowl that somehow made the trip across the ocean from England stands on her counter and his filled with red cabbage soaking in vinegar. The way she patted the ‘canaidella’ into balls for the chicken soup. Fish patties….and when she was too old to stand and cook, she made them with me and my girls in my kitchen. She sat on a stool holding the tin bowl and wooden spoon. Yorkshire puddings, apple cake, the apples sliced by hand and smothered in brown sugar.
I have learned many things from my mother. If I’m a good mother, it is because of her. So if my daughters turn out okay, it is because she is watching over them. I f my mother had a ‘recipe for life’ it would be her inner strength and courage, her ability to put one foot in front of the other and find what is good about each day. And to find joy…. She was around my age when she lost her breast, her son, her husband. And yet, she filled my life with joy, she was gracious and good.