23 March 2010
I Always Thought That I'd See You Again....
My father passed away early yesterday morning. He had been sick for a while so it wasn't unexpected. We last saw each other this past summer and it's this time and this version of him that is freshest in my memory.
Due to some unfortunate events during my childhood, I didn't know my dad when I was growing up. It's primarily over the last 6-7 years that we had really gotten to know each other and make peace with the skeletons in the closet.
My dad was a true gourmand, and I like to think I got my appreciation for food from him. I definitely know I got my love of hot and spicy foods from him. He could spend hours recounting the menu from a dinner party he hosted for his private wine club, or reminiscing about the oysters he ate one summer in Brittany. He would often call just to tell me about the fresh vegetables and fruits he bought at his local market in California. He loved to cook and he loved to share his recipes. I have several from him for simple, sweet desserts, including a rum cake he raved about to me for years; he finally was able to finagle the recipe out of the chef at his golf club to send to me a few months ago (though I was sworn to secrecy to never share it). I have never made the rum cake but plan to later this month when I have a few moments of free time.
My father came to visit us a few years back and one afternoon discovered the eclairs at one of our local bakeries. He went back several times during his visit to buy us some (even though he was very sick with a stomach bug and lacking his usual hearty appetite). Whenever he told stories about this particular trip to Paris, inevitably the conversation would turn to these amazing eclairs and how much he enjoyed them. Eclairs have long been one of my favorite desserts and they are now intrinsically linked to him in my mind. I've been thinking a lot about those eclairs over the past 24 hours and given the beautiful weather here in Paris, I think I will stop by later and buy a couple. I'll take them to the parc where my dad and I sat and talked while we watched my kids play. I'll think of him and enjoy one of those amazing eclairs, and hope that he is now in a place where he can eat eclairs to his heart's content, happy and at peace.
Photo courtesy of yuichi.sakuraba via flickr.