I’m not quiet sure what or whom this stranger is. Is it who she become through her illness? Is it the cancer that eventually killed her? Or is it me, left standing in her kitchen, staring at her old cooker wondering what to do next?
Perhaps it’s the grief. A crippling feeling I hadn’t had the pleasure to meet before, and wish I never had. I wish it would go back to where it came from. I don’t want this now, I just want to think about mum.
I stand staring at the boxes and boxes of her recipes, her old restaurant menus from so many wonderful places, incredible photographs from her life, wondering where to start. Described as ‘the doyenne of the British restaurant revolution’ I feel the need to do something with all this. She taught me so much about food, but there was still so much we didn’t get round to do, her illness got in the way. These plates of food are haunted with memories, the smells take me back to happy moments we shared like nothing else. The more I do it the more I feel closer to her.
But this is no cookbook. It’s my personal journey through grief and through my mother’s life. I revisited places we lived together, places she grew up and places we went together. I wandered around, ate, took pictures, wrote, cried, daydreamed, and somehow it took me to here, looking for a way to end the project.This is still a work in progress, I continue to discover new recipes so can't quite bring myself to stop the project. Perhaps this project is like grief, it will never quite end. Grief changes you, but you learn to live with it and survive somehow. This project is about saying goodbye to grief, so perhaps it's time to bid it farewell.