It’s strange cooking for someone who used to eat your food.It’s not that I haven’t been through death before. I have. Several times. I think I’ve even gone to a funeral for someone who’s eaten something I brought in for a pot luck. I know that my late husband ate my cooking. I’ve been cooking for a while. But I don’t think of myself of having come into my own as far as cooking, baking, and/or preserving goes until after he passed away, and even moreso after the birth of my son, the one who gave me a valid reason to learn to do these things.
This time it's different. My BFF lost her stepmother, Bonnie, this week. Bonnie was a great lady. She was full of life. I know Bonnie used to like cheesecake, and she’s had several of my desserts. So that’s what makes this weird.
The first thing we do as a world culture is make sure the family of the deceased eats. In certain cultures, you don’t even let the grieving family go near the kitchen – you bring food, you send food, you order catering – but they are the survivors, and they have to survive. We need food and water and oxygen to survive.
There’s been a lot of grieving this week in my life, but in the life of my country as well. It’s been hard being a Canadian this week. And when I say that I don’t mean being Canadian – it’s been easier to be Canadian this week than it was during the Winter Olympics earlier this year. It’s just been hard here. We as a collective have been through the gamut. We had our collective hearts broken and torn out by senseless acts of violence. We’ve had our hope restored through people whom we had come to regard as figureheads. And we have come together as a nation – for the most part – to help each other survive this mess and keep going forward.
And in the middle of all of this, before it even began, my BFF lost someone she loved and cared for. In the middle of her family’s private grief, there was this very public loss and grief.
And that’s the day she reached out to ask for help.
So I decided to make something I haven’t made in a while. A cheesecake. I’m not sure why that’s the first thing I thought of, since I have apples and it’s pie season. It’s a helluvalot easier to bake a pie than to make a cheesecake. But I think it was because I hadn’t made one for a while. And it just seemed like the right time to make one.
So Rest In Peace, Bonnie Smith. Thank you for being you, and for being kind to me at a time when I felt like a stranger in my own land. I really wish you were here to have a piece of this apple cinnamon cheesecake I’m making for you. You take care, and rest well until we meet again. Hopefully you will be there to guide me through another place where I’m going to feel like a stranger in a strange land.