A Memory For Recipes

My grandmother died seven years ago, but before she did, she taught me where to find her

MY GRANDMOTHER died seven years ago, but before she did, and before time broke down the tidy geometry of her penmanship, she curved the sails of her S’s, leaning them into the letters that follow. She bent them forward at the beginning of “sugar” and “syrup,” let the sail trail behind “cups,” a tiny flick of the pen that said, Here I am.

My mother does this, too, and so do I—a small trace of our lineage laid out on the recipe cards she wrote to feed her family, for my mother to feed me, for me to feed mine. I keep them now, these cards, these relics, on the highest shelf in the kitchen, still in her blue and white tin, a box surely older than me. And by holding them, it holds her, both funeral urn and treasure trove. I take them out, card by card, not to cook but to remember. A place for my wandering fingers to go when they seek hers, to brush the same paper she once knew, to feel her brushing back through the years.

My grandmother died seven years ago, but before she did, she taught me where to find her.