A Spoonful of Sugar Makes The…
Bowl of cold rice plus a dash of cream taste more delicious than words can say, especially when you’re 9 years old and its your grandmothers leftover rice she had been saving for you since morning. You see, we lived only 3 blocks from my Grandma H’s house when I was but a girl. I’d take the cut across to her house several times a week on my way home from school, so I could have that after school snack with her. Most of the time it was a cold bowl of rice or maybe leftover fried mush, nothing fancy because my grandmother, like all grandmothers in those days, had raised their children during the depression and they learned to take what they had in their cupboards and make it taste like heaven. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway; I loved my grandmothers food simply because she took time to save it specially for me.
It’s funny how even the slightest aroma, or even a thought of certain foods can transport our minds back to our childhood days. I was reminded a few days ago just how powerful food is, not only for feeding our physical bodies but for our souls as well; A gentleman, in town on business, stepped inside our red French door, for the first time last week. The soup de jour happened to be a French Country white bean stew. He ordered a bowl, lingered at his table, complementing my server on just how much he had enjoyed the lunch. As he was paying out, he began to share a childhood story with me…He said as he ate his stew, his memory transported him back to the age of 5 when his mom had made a bean soup for their dinner. He chuckled as he spoke, remembering how straight forward he was with his mom that he definitely was not going to eat those beans and that was final. He said his dad, not willing to allow him to be so ungrateful, scoped him up, delivered him to his room, and there he sat, the rest of the evening, by himself, having ruined the opportunity to have eaten. He explained as he continued, latter on as he grew, he did eat his moms soup and discovered what a shame it had been for him to have been missing out on such a tasty dish for so long.
So many personal stories over the past years I have had the pleasure of hearing, as people dine with us. So many simple dishes not only nourishing physical bodies, but stories of how those same dishes have taken my customers back to their loved ones homes, their tables, their lives, filling their souls with warmth and happiness and smiles.
And for me? It’s that rice. So much so that a rice pudding is a must for our dessert menu. Make no mistake, I have fancied it up making it smooth, sweet and creamy, then garnish it with a sauce of strawberry/rhubarb that has been poached in a Cabernet Sauvignon, but none the less…the memory of that blonde, curly headed, 9 year old girl, setting at her grandmothers oil cloth topped table, savoring her grandmothers cold rice on a hot afternoon, comes flooding back with every luscious spoonful I take. And my soul too is renewed with the hope that as I prepare special dishes for my loved ones, there’ll be a time in years to come, that in some cafe’ some where, my children and their children will taste a favorite of theirs and the memories made with me, their mum, will come flooding back. And that makes me smile.