Late Thursday night, my Nannie passed away with my Dad at her bedside.
She was very well taken care of by her nurses, and her death was very peaceful. She had been struggling with her health for years, and her husband died many years ago. As sad as we all are to say goodbye to her, especially her sister who was on her way but did not make it in time, we are very glad she has been reunited with those she loved so dearly who went before her, and found peace again.
But she never got to meet my husband, or my daughter, and I had not seen her in years due to living in separate countries. This is my biggest regret surrounding her.
She was the cook of the family. She always hosted our family get togethers, cooked everything, and made it all look like a breeze. It was all delicious too, and everything appeared on the table hot, fresh out of the oven at the same time. It was like magic, so much food from one tiny stove. She worked as a chef at a restaurant for a brief period of time, where a talent scout happened to eat one day. She had made him an omelet, and he said that in all his years working with chefs and tasting their food, he had never tasted something this good. He asked to speak to her, and offered her a job in which she would be head chef, and make a lot of money. She turned it down, saying that it would spoil cooking for her to do that, and she quit her current job shortly thereafter never to work for money for her food again. Instead, my Dad and his sisters would come home from school to something fresh baked every single day.
When I was born, the first thing anybody said about me was that I had her hands. Not my Dad's eyes or my Mum's nose or anything... my Nannie's hands. True to form, I can bake and make pastry just like she did, but until I got married I really didn't use those skills much. My Mum was never a big cook, so I learned basics like how to boil vegetables and make fairy cakes, but it was very rudimentary and by the time I was old enough to be interested in and capable of learning how to cook, from my Nannie she was too old and sick to teach me. This is my second biggest regret.
I think she would be proud of me now. I have learned a lot, and continue to do so. I may not cook the recipes she did, and I never will be able to, due to needing to avoid certain ingredients, but I cook the way she did - wholeheartedly, passionately, using a gift to it's full potential for the benefit and enjoyment of those around us. I just wish it was something we could have shared together.
May she rest in Peace.