Monday, March 25, 2013

Gloop For The Soul

Recently, my mother in law passed away, and at the same time, my mother was in the hospital. Nothing has changed as of today, my mom is still in the hospital and my mother in laws funeral service is Friday!

The whole feeling of hurt that is in my family right now is tremendous, and I don't know how to take their pain away aside from trying to stuff it with food. At the same time, I have rediscovered my own memories for my dad who died just a few years ago, as well as fear knowing none of us is invincible, and my mother is having medical complications of her own. Loss is a terrible feeling that none of us as a human beings does not feel at some point in our lives.

I began flooding my husband and my daughter with memories of the strong woman my mother in law was. We had a lengthly exchange of memories to laugh at, and it seemed as though the sharing of those memories lightened the hurt a bit.

Lena Harriette Sinclair
A strong woman Mrs. Lena Harriette Sinclair was indeed. She mothered 6 boys and 1 girl. After her husband passed away, she moved with her daughter to Alabama from New York. Harriette was my first inspiration for cake decorating, and I always wanted to be able to do cakes like she could. She was all about butter cream and Dream Whip, and her work was absolutely amazing. I believe later on in her life, when she could no longer do cakes because of her sore hands, she could still live a bit of her cake appeal through me.

She used to call me a lot and ask me what I had done for cake decorating since the last time we talked. I would fill her in, and she would come back to me with techniques to try that she stood by. She was my teacher and my cake hero.

My husbands family and my family pretty much grew up together. We have just always known each other, which brought about memories with both Harriette and my dad involved. Harriette and my dads common ground for many years was Wally, Harriettes husband, my father inlaw who passed quite a few years ago (17).

The more reminiscing of Dad, Wally, and Harriette we did, memories of my own began to come back to me as I was forced to revisit my own loss of my dad. One of my best memories of Dad was all about food, so I thought this was the perfect time to share with you what inspired much of my love for cooking.

My Dad! Edelmiro B. Rodriguez
My mom used to go to Bingo in the evenings, and Dad was there whenever he wasn't working. Most of the life I recall is that he worked evenings for many years. It was nice when he was able to be home because it was evening hours when he and I would "cook" our craziest things.

We were in a lower income class, so food was stretched to the max most of the time. Thats a learning experience all its own.

We would be sitting home at night, watching TV or listening to his salsa music while he drank his beer. Of course we would get hungry, but there was rarely even any foods just to grab for snacking. Everything was made as we needed it.

We were hungry and our food pantry had lots of "stuff" in it free for the taking since mom wasn't home :o)

Dad and I discovered we were great in the kitchen together and could always make something crazy for our snack time fun, even if we were the only ones who would touch it. It began like this:

An open box of instant potatoe flakes, a can of tuna, a can of mixed veggies, and sauces and seasonings too numerous to remember all came out to the table.

We took a big pot with water and just began pouring everything and anything into it that we could find. Of course we didn't use anything that mom had planned for meals already, but everything else was fair game.

Between adding ingredients, we would both test the flavor and each taste test ended in another addition of all of these odd ingredients. Finally, we came up with something we decided to call goop. Dad was Puerto Rican, so sometimes he worded things a bit different and his name for it was gloop from the start...so gloop it was!!!

Our first gloop was a creamy, potatoe soup with everything from tuna to a bit of steak sauce in it. My brother and sister wouldn't touch it, and my mother wasn't impressed when she came home either, but this gloop soup fed our father daughter relationship for years to come. I should also say that our gloop got better over the years with extra creativity, but I don't think we ever convinced anyone else of that!

My dad was not my blood, but he was MY DAD! The truest of dads out there. The dad that had a choice and chose to father 3 kids that were not his. He is my dad in every sense of the meaning and for me, he was what REAL DAD meant. I miss him so much, and at this time, when I am trying to help my husband and daughter get through the loss of mom and grandma, I am overwhelmed with these memories flowing back.

I am not sad, don't get me wrong. I am however feeling that loss again, and I cannot believe I missed this for so long having a grandson that would adore making gloop with his nana. For me this is the best idea in keeping his memory alive through generations that didn't get lucky enough to know him.

I am so glad that I was able to write this post, and it has helped me deal just a bit better with what we have left; MEMORIES! Always put the memories up high and continue to teach the future generations of the people that meant so much to you. If the memories do not die out, than the person will always be a part of your life. Its just good old "Gloop For The Soul!"

I would like to hear some of your craziest food memories. Do you have a similar story you want to share? Comment below to share it with us.
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