This morning, as I was creating Jean’s breakfast, I realized why I like to cook. In cooking, as in writing, I create a text to be consumed & hopefully, savored. Appreciated & discussed. For Jean this morning, I created a mushroom omelet, a side of mango & a side of hash browns.
During our last soiree in the hospital, Jean informed me that there were only two good uses for white potatoes – French fries & hash browns. She later amended that to include baked white potatoes.
My breakfast this morning consisted of muffins, inspired by my cousin Laura’s bright & articulate grandson, Thomas.
During a recent visit with my cousin Laura & her sisters, I had the joy & wonder of meeting their children & grandchildren.
Laura’s daughter Jennifer, who lives in Maryland with her Navy husband, was in town for an extended stay with her parents, who are called Mimi & Papa by their grand babies.
So, since I was camped out at Laura & her husband Al’s home, I spent time during my visit with Rachel, Thomas & Cecilia.
Thomas wanted muffins. The first time he asked for Mimi to make muffins, she told him that they would make them tomorrow.
When tomorrow came, Rachel & Thomas came downstairs in the morning & the first thing Thomas asked was:
Mimi, can we make muffins?
My cousin Laura gathered all the ingredients for muffins – sans the walnuts she usually uses. She discussed sliced almonds & gave some to Thomas to taste. With Thomas’ approval, almonds went into the muffins.
As I watched Laura make the muffins, Thomas on a stool to help, I realized she was creating more than food to nourish us. She was creating a text, a memory.
Making muffins with Mimi.
When I returned to Houston, after a delay ( a whole Other story ), I decided to make Mimi’s muffins.
But my Internet went down & was reduced to consult a cookbook. I could have looked up the recipe Laura uses & tweaks on my phone, but I am always at my best returning to what I know & love & understand.
I returned to a book.
So I made muffins, with walnuts & dried cranberries, tweaking the recipe, drawing threads from a braid of recipe texts & making it my own.
With Thomas’s voice echoing, “Mimi, can we make muffins?”
It was an amazing visit, seeing my favorite cousins – Laura & Vicki & Suzanne & Jenny.
But I think that one of the best parts was watching Mimi weave a text & create a memory.
That, & Laura’s four year old granddaughter Rachel addressing me as Jaki Jean.
Houston poet & Texas Poet Laureate Vassar Miller wrote about naming. That we love what we name, we name what we love.
Rachel reminded me that Jack & Jean named me after each another, out of love for one another & for their first born.
Thomas & Mimi reminded me everything we do with & for one another is part of weaving a text & memory. Part of being connected & sharing.