As I sat down to enjoy my cup of coffee this morning – a daily ritual – I thought about waking up to the smell of coffee at my grandmother’s house. I stayed with her (we called her Mini, dosage for reasons only known to my brother) for short visits during the summers growing up, and every morning she would fix a pot of coffee, a scent that permeated the entire house. (That must be why I have to brew some almost every day of the week, even if I’m not in the mood to actually drink it.) I would come sleepily stumbling down the stairs and into the kitchen to find my smiling grandmother waiting to hug me good morning.
The first time she offered me coffee, I was about 6 years old. I felt like I had passed some sort of threshold into adulthood, or that I could join the ranks of and would finally be “cool” to my older sister. (Was coffee really that magical to me then? Wow.) And to top it off, Mini served the coffee in beautiful demitasse cups with dainty little spoons. This was my very own tea party with an extra special guest, Mini.
Before anyone starts to worry, the cup of coffee my grandmother gave to me (the then 6-year-old) was mostly warmed milk with a splash of coffee and the tiniest bit of sugar. But that didn’t matter to me. This was my special time with Mini, to have her undivided attention.
She passed away a short time ago, but she is still with me every morning while I’m making my coffee and deciding what I’m going to make for dinner that night. This morning, as I savored the first sip of my morning brew, I flipped through Mini’s old recipe cards and found a recipe for her signature dish: Chicken Tetrazzini. I’ve never made this before (my family and I think we’re walking on sacred ground with this one), but I think I’ll give it a try tonight. Making this dish is honoring the woman that means so much to me, the woman who gave me my first real tea party, the woman who deepened my roots and treated me like an equal (well before I even knew what that meant). I love you with all my heart, Mini.
*Tomorrow’s post: Mini’s Chicken Tetrazzini recipe