If God had intended us to follow recipes,
He wouldn't have given us grandmothers.
Yesterday evening, I found myself pinned on my couch in between my two grandmothers. They have both always occupied very special, yet somehow very separate places in my life, so this moment felt like an extraordinary culmination of the ultimate familial experience. Here's how this particular scene played out:
Grandma V to Grandmom C, "This is my dear sweet Lydia!"
Grandmom C to Grandma V, "That's funny! I thought this was my dear sweet Lydia!"
Then Grandma V and Grandmom C chuckled at each other. And I sat there snuggling and smiling and realized how blessed I am to be loved so much by two such special women.
The aforementioned Grandma V has taught me everything I know about not following recipes. Many times I've asked her how she makes her mouth-watering and soul-feeding southern dishes (Grandma's Biscuits, Pecan Pie, Grandma's Cookies, Scrambled Eggs, Pork Chops... only to name a few). Sometimes her answer is a vague "some of this, some of that." Other times she has walked me through some of the Grandma specialties, such as the biscuits and the cookies:
Her measurements: A box of this. Two bags of this. A container of that. A "little" of this.
Her instructions: "Until it feels right."
Her cooling rack: A large bath towel.
Her key ingredient: Why, butter, of course.
From her to my mother, and from my mother to me, such a philosophy of cooking has been passed along. Yes, most of the time we have to be health and weight-conscious, and we've got many a magazine article and made many a healthy meal to show for that. But when we are cooking for people, we cook to make them happy. And Grandma V's cooking has produced thousands and thousands of happy people.
My dear, spunky Grandmom C is where I've received most of my appreciation for sparkle, the arts, a good time, and a chic cafe. She's where I got my city girl. My love for cats. My appreciation of photography and symphony orchestras. My taste for fresh crusty bread or pastry and a fragrant cup of coffee. My love for glamorous earrings, shoes, and dresses.
My Grandmom moved to Austin from Manhattan a few years ago, and within a week of being on Texas soil, ventured downtown to run an errand and see what she could see. She returned home with a new bank account and an invitation to a cocktail party at a downtown art museum opening that evening (which obviously she accepted with delight). That's my grandmother. She's sassy, she's glamorous, and she's got gumption.
Thank you for my heritage.
Love, your "dear sweet Lydia"