Grandma Rose's cooking has influenced me more than I can explain in this piece. I adored, everyone adored, her chicken and rice, numerous 'farm food' entrees', the 'nothing' cookies, ginger snaps, and endless treats this woman made at Christmas and every time we came to visit. You never left Grandma Rose's kitchen without feeling full. This is a woman who cooked well with simple ingredients, and she was not afraid of butter, shortening, or fat, if it helped the flavor.
I am not the same as my grandmother. I love vegetarian dishes, Indian cuisine, Korean dwenchang tchigae (Korean stew of tofu, mushrooms, and potatoes made with a special bean paste), hummus, and anything with quinoa in it (salad, soup, or stew). My grandmother would be horrified at the unknown spices and strange tastes in these dishes.
For me, she is the ultimate example of good, simple food prepared with a loving heart and a generous spirit. Her generosity of spirit in the kitchen and in life live in my memory. She was kind to strangers, neighbors, friends, family, in short, everyone.
She was a very strong Catholic. The importance of Christ was evident for all to see. Grandma Rose was aware that our bodies were temples, but she also understood how Christ understood the comfort of abundance and the nurturing properties of food. When Christ walked among us, he enjoyed the aroma of roasted fish over a beach fire, the rich offerings of wedding feasts, and the breads, sweets and savory meats served up by the hands of Jewish mothers during celebrations of family or faith. He understood the relief after the harvest had been brought in and the overwhelming sense of thankfulness for all that God provided.
She is the one I try to emulate when I make meals for family and friends. I hope I am able to be half as generous in the kitchen and in life as she was.
Grandma Rose, the ultimate example of comfort food, love, grace.