When my wife and I were dating and later, as poor newlyweds, we would go to the Bombay House, still the best Indian restaurants we have ever eaten at. Their Chicken Coconut Kurma is on my list of "if you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you choose?” We became so addicted to the amazing flavors at Bombay House that after one splurge the owners had to call us to say, "I am so sorry; your check, it is bouncing."
Years back, when many of the women in my family came down for women’s conference and to visit, we all went to Bombay House and had a great meal. When it came time to pay the bill, we began to hassle my sister Charlotte, who had been designated to cover the large sum, about how long it was taking her to get it paid. My niece Jessie began to be sincerely distressed even to the point of tears, trying to understand why Charlotte had to pay for it all and, especially, why we would be so rude about how long it was taking for her to pay. (She did not realize that Charlotte was just figuring the bill and using our mom’s card to settle accounts.) To this day, the situation and Jessie’s hysterics still makes me smile so hard my face hurts.
Once upon a time, back when I could still write a letter to my dad, I was smart or lucky enough to start collecting family recipes and I even created a cookbook for my siblings. He sent me the recipes and short histories for many family classics including his upside-down cake, Spanish Delight, and pancakes.
I have mastered these and maybe even improved them and, strangely, I feel a certain satisfaction about this. I can make an apple pie that is as good as my mom's. I have been a part of creating and sharing food that spans the decades. It runs in the family. My sister Lissa cooked me her triple berry pie for my 50th birthday. I will now forever associate that delicious flavor with her and that occasion and forever appreciate the time and effort she put into every bite I took in the company of my family. My wife makes bread and scones that I have a really hard time sharing with others; I really only share because I cannot physically eat them all by myself. (I do my best, believe me.)
While I cook mostly to selfishly feed myself and my family, I occasionally will feed others. So I understand what my sister-in-law (and amazing chef) Lin wrote in her blog a few years ago: "Fixing you food is how I tell you that I care for you, that I am sorry you had a bad day, that I’m glad that you had a great day. Food communicates (I hope) what I so often can’t find the words for." My wife cooked a huge batch of Black Eyes of Texas (http://kcwoman.wordpress.com/2010/06/02/texas-when-i-die/) and sent them up to her brother who requested them for Christmas. It's like having chips and dip for dinner, a real treat. Anyway, even though I have been dieting the past few months, I still love food... and the memories that come with it. And I'm grateful for those people who have cooked for me over the years. Her blog’s still there if you find yourself wanting a good read or a good cry: http://kcwoman.wordpress.com/
I am slowly but surely putting some Walker family recipes online at pepperplate.com. If you would like the login information, feel free to contact me. http://www.pepperplate.com/recipes/.