Carrie was always known as the cook of the family. She loved being in the kitchen, experimenting with new recipes and flavors. I loved being in the kitchen, too, but that’s because I adored eating the food. Carrie was the cook, and I was her willing, taste-testing guinea pig.
Before she died, I asked Carrie for Mom’s “famous” Beef Burgundy recipe. It’s the dish I remember most from my childhood. Mom would make it every time we had a special meal or gathering. It had wine in it, so I always thought it was super fancy and elegant. And Mom served it with a pea salad and crescent rolls. For me, it was a meal of pure perfection.
When Carrie texted me the recipe, I was surprised at how simple it was. I’d expected such a “fancy” meal to be much more complicated. But every time I tried to make it, it just wasn’t right. It didn’t taste like Mom’s.
Recently, I’ve been craving it again. There’s something about your Mom’s famous dish that makes you feel loved and warm and protected when you’re in need of a hug. So, I reached out to my cousins to see if they had the original recipe. Back when I was still single-digits, we compiled an Anderson Family Cookbook. Everyone submitted their favorite recipes, and we all got a copy of the bound compilation. Because I was so young, I’m not sure I got my own copy, and I don’t know where Mom’s copy landed.
But quickly after I asked, there it was: A screenshot of Mom’s Beef Burgundy recipe from the Anderson Family Cookbook, in Mom’s handwriting with her own illustrations. A treasure. I immediately noticed that the recipe Carrie gave me had two minor differences: the soup and the amount of burgundy wine.
I followed Mom’s written recipe, and was instantly taken back to Weston Village. The sights, the scents, the flavors from my childhood. There is much to be said of comfort food. It’s a warm blanket, a gentle hug, a reassurance that although my beloved mom is gone, so much of her remains. I may no longer have Mom or Carrie here on this earth, but I will always have the pieces of them that remain within me. And when I forget, I have my sweet cousins here to fill in the gaps of my memory.