Yesterday I received the news that a lovely man, the husband of a dear friend, passed away suddenly from a heart attack. They were high school sweethearts, married in their early twenties, and had forty-seven years together in a marriage filled with a generosity of spirit and mutual admiration. Both worked hard their entire lives. Just turned seventy, he was still at his job as an engineer, she a teacher. Last year they had finally managed to take a vacation together. They were looking forward to more. As you know, I am a person who looks for the good, for that sliver of positive to build on. But I don’t see the world through rose-colored glasses. I don’t look at tragedies like this and say “it’s for the best” or “it’s God’s will.” (Let’s not get into a religious discussion here, and leave it at that.) Although I know her well enough to know that she will forge a good life from here on in, at this moment, there is cause for deep sadness.
I can’t change what happened. Words fail. In time, I will do what friends do, keep her part of our lives and provide companionship when she needs it. But today I will cook. She has a house full of family, bereft children and boisterous grandchildren. It is part of the tradition that I grew up in that one doesn’t become immobilized by sorrow, but that one reaches out and does something concrete to help others.
I have a menu in mind: chicken breasts baked with preserved lemon and pesto, brown rice pilaf, salad, popovers and peach crumble. A lasagna to put in the freezer.
What would you cook?