I've been reading this book called "Season to Taste" by a girl named Molly Birnbaum. She was training to be a chef when a freak accident left her with no sense of smell. She was shocked by the numbing void and depression its absence left in her life, even apart from the paralyzing of her career. So she goes on a quest to both understand the place that scents wrap themselves into our lives, and memories, and to hopefully regain her sense of smell. A lot of her memories are tied into the scents of meals. Certain smells seem to become a sort of marker to hold things that our mind tends to forget in day to day life.
In Maman's Homesick Pie that I wrote about here, the author also makes sense of her journey through the memories of tastes and smells of her Maman's kitchen. The thought that common meals together can be the fabric that anchors the shifting events lives, gives me the inspiration to not let our dinner table be what is sacrificed on the days when I feel like a full time chauffer juggling cello lessons, soccer practice, and tae kwon do.
I was sorting through clippings of recipes today, sticking them into the empty sleeves of a photo album. The sight of many of the pictures brought sweet memories of friends and family. Hasty Peasant Stew transported me to a forgotten memory of a huge pot of simmering goodness on a friend's stove, and the warmth of her kitchen that fed our hunger but also our hearts during a time when we stayed with them. Some recipes brought memories that were bittersweet as a hand scrawled note brought memories of friendships that have faded. There were recipes that my mom had clipped out to try sometime and never did. One simple cut out was from the back of a flour bag, and had been Aidan's favorite meal and featured prominently in his early, messy high chair pictures. There were several recipes for bbq meatballs as one Valentine's Day (?) my mom and I had tried to recreate a favorite meatball recipe for Chris and my dad. Some of the clippings transported me to high school years, and a few hand written cards from Hungary brought thoughts of a friend who had traveled as a missionary and brought me back a precious vitamin bottle filled with a carefully hoarded supply of brilliant red saffron flowers.
I think I'm going to make Hungarian Crepes tonight in honor of Amy who was our one time room mate and dishwasher. Rosemary is still for remembrance.