A good friend’s mom just passed away yesterday. And death is always never easy with family as you are often caught off guard, during moments you do not expect it to happen. This ironically joyful and tragic incident (Joyful because we, Catholics, believe that she / he would rejoin The Creator, but at the same time, tragic because she / he would be leaving behind family and friends.) made me remember one of the most memorable food influences in my life: my grandmother or lola as we grandchildren called her.
She passed away after almost month long battle in the hospital from the aftermath of a hemorrhagic stroke last December 12, 2010. It wasn’t easy for everyone; the entire clan was devastated at the loss: emotionally and financially as sickness and death doesn’t come cheap nowadays. But like any food loving family, we were able to recover from the loss and see the joy of Lola in Heaven with each other’s company and with food, the food, which she so lovingly prepared, ate with gusto and passed on to the younger generations.
My grandmother was a Home Economics graduate, whose ingenuity helped her family survive on a shoestring budget, shopping for cheap odds and ends and making it palatable and delicious for the family. My father, aunts and uncles always fondly told us of her culinary inventions: the homemade pizzas, when there were no pizza chains around yet, ox brain and fish eggs fritters, moist chocolate mayonnaise cupcakes, among others; and her taking on heirloom recipes such as the once-a-year holiday special, Cocido and kare-kare with adobo. She also was at the helm of the kitchen during our regular Sunday get togethers, preparing an entire meal for her husband (my grandfather), her children and their better halves, and very hungry, growing grandchildren including myself. Even when they decided to move to the United States, she continued cooking for her husband, children and grandchildren who were based there. Cooking was such a joy for her, and, more so, seeing the entire clan enjoying what she prepared. I can almost see her happy eyes twinkle and hear her musical chuckle as I write this post. How I wish I can cook as she did!
So during the final night of the wake, it was just so apt that we all remembered her through the food. We jokingly called it the Food Eulogy because those who spoke, almost all her children and some of the grandchildren, shared how she showed us her great love through the food she cooked. She was immortalized through her wonderful cooking. Because cooking is an act of service, an act of love. Don’t you agree?
I just want to take this time to thank my lola for the teaching us that through the humble act of cooking, you can express your love. And to my friend, whose mother passed away, it won’t be easy, but just remember how much happier your mom is with the Lord in Heaven.
Delirious about Delicious,