I always stopped what I was doing when you started talking about food. You and Papa had a refined taste you didn't pass on to my mom for some reason. You knew how to use old cooking equipment like a "silly Bub" and always knew the chef whenever we ate out. I always looked forward to dinners with you.
I came to visit you earlier this year in the mountains. You had stayed so spry for so long. 94 years. I was sad to hear your appetite had gone away. You complained that Brenda never made you the food you wanted. You ate a lot of shrimp cocktail, which used to be a favorite. Now it bored you.
I was surprised to find you laying on your bed when I arrived. I could see your legs disintegrating before my eyes. The only place you could make it every day was your kitchen. That was your long walk to keep everything moving and healthy. Here, in the kitchen, you used to shine and work and we would all gather and eat tastes of this and that while you cooked. Now, it was just a place to sit and eat whatever Brenda made you. Always with a side of gin or bourbon.
As I sat on your bed and caught you up on my life, I started to brag about how I had learned to make hollandaise sauce--the real way. I also learned to poach eggs perfectly. To my surprise, you asked me to cook for you. You asked me to make you breakfast the next day.
So I woke up the next morning and made the trek to your kitchen. I went through your cabinets and ran my fingers over your cooking utensils, picked a few up and wondered what they were for, noticed spots of rust or tarnish on those you had overused years ago. I gathered the things I needed and turned on the stove.
I asked Isaac to help me. We made bacon, eggs, toast, and hollandaise sauce, which required me to sweat and focus over the stove. I had to get it just right for you.
I walked back to tell you breakfast was ready. You made the trek with your walker. We sat around your kitchen table and tried a little bit of everything together. It was all perfect. I poured you whatever you asked for to drink. I stepped up to grab whatever you needed. I stuffed myself with satisfaction and great food. You smiled and laughed the way you do. The sun came in over the mountains of the resort. We sat. We relaxed.
I promised to come see you again soon and cook for you. I never got a chance. I haven't made hollandaise sauce, but I should.
Megan Wilson is a freelance writer and marketing professional in Richmond, VA. See more of her work here: http://www.sweetsauceblog.com/featured/