My mom passed away on October 3, 2011. The picture above is from the beautiful memory book my wife Becca made for the occasion of my mom’s memorial service (yes, that is Julia Child). Although later in life, my mom left the food world behind and identified herself more with the dachshund breeding community, I will always remember her as a foodie. I grew up in her kitchens. She taught me how to bake bread, how to measure ingredients by feel, and how to enjoy being in the kitchen. Through it all, I spent countless hours with my mom that might otherwise have been squandered.
When she died, I ‘inherited’ a box of spices from her spice drawer. Since my mom was not at full health for the last two years of her life, she spent very little time in the kitchen and consequently, the spices were mostly all out of date. I left the box in the corner of a room for several weeks, my wife periodically asking when I’d get around to taking care of it. I knew I’d never use the spices, but I didn’t feel right tossing them out. They represented something of my mom’s essence to me.
I couldn’t keep them in a box in a corner forever, though. One night, I brought the box out to the trash and dumped the spices unceremoniously into a garbage can. After a restless night of sleep, I woke up, went outside, turned the garbage can over and reclaimed the spices. I couldn’t throw them out, so I did what I frequently do when I’m in doubt… make art. Using a tapered glass container, I layered the spices up to the top, corked it, and sealed it with wax.
And that was the right thing to do. It has been on display in my kitchen ever since. Every time I look at it, I think of my mom and smile. Sure do miss her.