A F F A I R S
"Matters of Taste"
I'd add to his list another item: They miss out on memories.
My mother was an excellent cook, in the days when most women stayed home to raise their children, keep their houses, and prepare their meals from scratch. Every Valentine's Day, she baked a heart-shaped butter cake with pink icing. For my birthday, she never failed to produce a German chocolate cake, my favorite. She made a pork pie that I can still taste--and still miss--and a tomato sauce that took at least four hours and has never been surpassed, to my palate, in flavor.
Now that I am a cook myself, I wish I could make that sauce, but I can't. My mother's recipe was hand written, stashed in a disarrayed loose-leaf binder. When she died many years ago, my father kept all of her cookbooks for several months. Then, in a spurt of generosity that was, I know, important and healthy for him, he gave all of them away, including that binder. He didn't ask me first if I wanted any of the collection, so the sauce recipe is gone forever.
I've long ceased being angry at him for failing to offer her books to me first. Actually, I wasn't very angry at the time, understanding how grief works on a person, forgiving him his thoughtlessness. But I do regret that I'll never get to make that tomato sauce. And I wonder how many of today's kids will never have a taste or an aroma bring back someone they miss, someone they'll never see again, but whose soul inhabits the kitchen and always has a place at the family dinner table.
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