It has been nearly three months since my last blog entry… It has been a full three months with some high moments and some very low ones too. On the exciting side of things, there was a trip to Spain to plan which ate up pretty much my entire August until we left on September 16th. On the very sad side of things, we came back to face my mom in law’s rapidly deteriorating health. We said our final goodbyes last Friday as she finally let go of all her suffering.
My sweet mom in law Maria has been at the core ofmany of my blog posts and my inspiration in the kitchen. As a matter of fact, both my own mom and her have been my lifelong kitchen mentors. Everything I master well, I have both of them to be utterly thankful for. I make mean soups because Maria showed me how to extract the maximum flavour in broths. I often say that Harvesting Dinner should have been named My Heritage Kitchen instead… So true.
The Funeral is talking place this week and I am honouring my second mom by baking a few things but most specifically, her infamous apple cake. I shared that recipe with you last year and I thought the best tribute I could offer is to share it once again. Please visit and enjoy Omi’s Apfelkuchen
There are a few other recipes that oozes her touch. Her Cabbage Rolls for instance are a family favourite. I made these during this past Thanksgiving weekend. I couldn’t think of a better thanksgiving meal to have while we were enjoying the cottage, this magical place that is the fruit of her and dad’s labour.
I am utterly thankful to have shadowed her in her kitchen all those years, jotting ingredients, measuring all the “a bit of this, a handful of that” so that I can recreate all of her delicious recipes. I know she will be standing by my side on Wednesday while I bake the apple cake. I know she will be tickled pink that it is the cake I chose to bake because of all the scrumptious desserts she baked, nothing was more acclaimed by all than this particular cake. And she made it often, for every occasion because you know, Apfelkuchen cures everything!
I am grateful to have had such a wonderful second mom in my life. She loved unconditionally, showered us with more love than you can possible imagine and spoiled us rotten ALL THE TIME! She was extremely proud of her two grandsons, our Princes and she shared a very special bond with her only child, my very own King. How lucky am I that she treated me like her own daughter. I am already missing her dearly…
The most succulent memories often emerge from a mother’s kitchen. Well at least mine do! Have you ever picked out friends simply because their mom was an amazing cook? I am guilty of that for sure!!! Always hoping to get invited for dinner somewhere… Especially if the family was having its own traditional, French Canadian version of spaghetti with meat sauce. When I was growing up, every family ate «spaghetti italien» as it was called at least once a week. And every family had the best sauce ever, or so they claimed! Seems I was on a mission to discover who actually the holder of that title was hahaha! But really, I was always looking for food, even at a very young age! Truth be told, my mother’s cooking was the best and so was her sauce! And my mother’s kitchen was the «awesomenest» kitchen I knew of! It is where I invariably would end up being when she was cooking, under her nose and in her way! I wanted to see how she did things and what she was creating, always fascinated and always salivating! I was quite young (compared with today’s standards) when I started to pull my weight around, becoming mommy’s little helper! I enjoyed peeling root vegetables and was charmed with the vegetable peeler. Root vegetables underwent under such a fabulous transformation: from dirty, muddy tuberous plants into something absolutely divine. Oh, the magic!
I remember the enveloping smells of mom’s pot roast braising slowly on a cold and wet winter Sunday. Mom would often make her pot roasts on a Sunday. Stemmed in tradition, her own mother had herself always done Sunday roast beef dinner and my mother, wanting to recreate that special childhood memory, would almost always roast a piece of meat on Sundays. Pot roasts were frequent because the cut of meat was affordable in a time when single income households were the norm and grocery budgets were careful planned out. What a different time we now live in…
Nevertheless, cheap meat or not, pot roast dinners were always prized meals in our house! There is something extraordinary about peeking under the lid of a pot of rich hardy stew simmering slowly. Something like looking at hot red lava bubbling at the top of a crater: bubbles thick and heavy, struggling to break the surface, finally pushing through, releasing rich aromas and splatter of tiny flavour infused droplets. Served with a decadent mashed root vegetable purée, fresh bread and butter (to soak up all the sinful gravy), a pot roast can be elevated to become the king of meats!!! Oh the lure of that smell…I think I may just have to submit to the call of The Braise… It is now officially autumn after all!