Note from Rosemarie’s Kitchen: Let me begin with a disclaimer of sorts – this going to be personal, maybe a little sad and I might even ramble from time to time. You aren’t going to find new recipes, only links to recipes I’ve shared with you before. If you aren’t interested, that’s okay. I understand, and we’ll catch up with each other further down the road. This isn’t a subject I had intended to write about – death, dying and loss. I know I’ve gotten personal before – glimpses here and there without actually standing “naked” in my feelings. After all, this is a cooking blog – a place to share fond memories while breaking bread together. And we’ll get back to that in all good time. In recent days I’ve received a number of requests for links to some of my brother’s favorite recipes. I had considered putting together a pinterest board, or a facebook page, but this seemed the easiest way to fulfill those requests.
On the evening of December 2, 2014, with his pet cat at his feet and his younger sister holding his hand, Brother Dear slipped quietly from this world. Unlike his quiet, peaceful death, the night itself was anything but calm – torrential rains, howling winds and distant lightning tore through the night. The two seemed in such conflict – echoing what we felt in our shattered hearts. Brother’s health had deteriorated rapidly in those final days, he was weak, unable to fully enjoy even the most basic of life’s pleasures. We all knew, Brother included, that soon there would be no quality of life remaining. For him, the time had come to let go, to make the transition from this existence to the next. And so it was on that dark, stormy night that his sister gave him permission to leave this world. In a hushed voice, she let him know that it was okay, it was time and that Mom was waiting for him on the other side.
For us his passing was bitter-sweet. There was joyful relief in the knowledge he had been spared the lingering suffering so often associated with cancer. The good Lord in His infinite mercy, had given us time enough to prepare and say our final good-byes. In his final months, Brother Dear said farewell to friends, many of whom had been his pals since childhood. The good Lord had been kind and gentle. We had prayed for a big miracle. God had granted us little blessings every day.
As a family, we have elected to forego the usual formalities of a funeral service (Brother Dear was not a religious man) and have opted instead to gather with those who knew him to celebrate the life of this beautiful soul. On the menu? Hamburgers and Lasagna!
Since his passing, I’ve received a number of requests and private messages to talk about Brother Dear’s favorite foods – beyond McDonald’s and all things pepperoni. Some of his favorite dishes required no recipe at all. He loved microwave popcorn (you could follow the trail of popcorn from the microwave to his room) and plain turkey sandwiches (I do mean plain – as in two slaps of white bread with some turkey meat between them – nothing else). He liked Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls, waffles made from Bisquick (but only if cooked on a traditional waffle iron, with the little holes – no Belgium waffles for this guy) and canned biscuits smothered in butter and grape jelly. My little brother adored warm chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven, brownies baked from a box mix and yellow cake with chocolate frosting. (Hubby’s favorite cake is a yellow marble cake with chocolate frosting – close enough to a yellow cake that I baked one every year for their birthdays – they were five days apart – Hubby being the younger of the two).
As I share the links to some of Brother Dear’s favorite foods, you’ll notice a pattern emerging – he was a simple man with simple pleasures.
Things I learned from Brother Dear
How to catch Crawdads, Pollywogs & Bull Frogs
How to Shoot a Be-Be Gun and roll in tall grass
How to dissect Golf Balls and Fly to the Moon
How to love with Compassion and a Kind Heart