One of the things that I knew this lifestyle would afford me is to visit people along the way. While in Chicago I stopped to visit with two of my cousins. We had a great time talking about lots of things as well as reminiscing over pictures I brought to share with them of our long gone relatives as well as pictures of all of us as tiny children. Maybe it was the nostalgia of the visit, but my cousin’s potato salad took me on a fantastical trip of memories. It was warm, German, potato salad and it was her mother’s recipe, that tasted just like my mother’s recipe, which tasted just like our grandmother’s recipe. With each bite I was transported to a kitchen where so many tasty treats and scrumptious holiday meals were made. At least that is what I could recall from the dim recesses of an adolescent memory.
Food is like that though. I taste something and it reminds me of an event or people in my life. I conjure up a memory of something so pleasing that it seems like it is happening in the moment. I half expected my grandmother to come to life out of the pictures and ask if I liked the food or wanted more. I remembered other potato salads my mother made and I couldn’t tell you how she made them. One had thin sliced radishes and cucumber. Another had green onions. They had different sauce bases and I can’t remember the exact taste to replicate them. But they came back to my palette tonight along with lots of other summer treats we cousins ate together as children.
Being the baby of the first cousins, I have fewer memories of ancient relatives long passed or events that they dimly recall with fondness. But I remember the feeling of family we had and why we continue to keep it alive, if only for brief moments like this evening. Our family is like so many others – arguments tore apart relationships, elders that kept family ties going died and left nothing holding us together, and people moved away to the four corners. But here we were, gathered to eat potato salad and conjure up the family frame one more time and revel in its once familiar glory.
I came for the experiences and I am getting to have them.