*Author, Natalie Goldberg, says when you don't know what to write about, talk about your favorite meal. For me, this was easy!
Tom wanted lasagna for dinner - he grabbed the deli created concoction at Safeway, and placed it in the cart. Without a word, I had only one thought: he just doesn't know real lasagna. He just doesn't know.
This judgmental way of thinking is my mom’s fault. Because the best meal I have ever had in my life was her homemade lasagna with meat sauce. Making this dish was a labor intensive ordeal, and it didn’t happen often. But when it did, hallelujah, hallelujah! Even God was left with admiration and a rumbling tummy.
Mom stood, smoking her cig, sipping her coffee, hunched over the cutting board that pulled out from the yellow and gold speckled laminate countertop. This was station one: grating 4 types of cheese by hand: parmesan, Romano, cheddar, and Monterey jack. Imagine that gooey baked deliciousness tucked between hearty noodles, covered in the stuff that made my heart swoon with excitement - mom’s meat sauce. Hearty Bolognese with veal, pork and beef: the Holy Trinity of four legged creatures. Onion, tomato sauce, and fresh cut spices carefully placed in a magic casserole Pyrex dish and baked to bubbling perfection.
When she got sick, and the urgency rode shotgun, and I began asking all the important questions a daughter asks her mom when she’s about to go on a field trip but she won’t be returning. When I inquired about the recipe for the lasagna, Foxy just sort of looked at me perplexed and then jotted down some phrases on a Post-it note.
I have yet to reenact this culinary miracle. It's almost as if my mom's words need more time and space to marinate before I attempt such a feat. Or maybe I have just come to the realization that this meal, my favorite, will never be replicated in its perfection.
And so I keep the “recipe” someplace safe, making sure to remember this meal that I will never forget.
I would love to know your favorite meal...