My family and I spent time in Florida over Christmas this year with my grandfather, who has lived in Delray Beach for the last 25 years or so. It was a bittersweet holiday since it was the first without my grandmother. Spending time at my grandparents’ house this time around was almost other-worldly; I expected to see ‘Lala’ sitting on the porch reading when I looked up towards the house from the pool. I missed her grand entrances during the cocktail hour in her beautiful suits, our games of Crazy Eight at the marble dining room table and the way she called me Abigail, like no one else does.
Atlantic Ocean, Delray Beach, Florida.
Two nights before Christmas, my mother, sister and I popped open the champagne and looked through Lala’s cookbooks and recipe files. We found the Petite Marmite cookbook, which held recipes from the fancy Palm Beach restaurant that my parents used to take me and Jenny to, dressed identically in bright sundresses and flip-flops. We found Soupçon: an old Junior League cookbook from the 80’s, and a small brown book of French recipes from the cooking school that Lala spent time at with friends in the early 70’s.
Petite Marmite (now closed), Palm Beach, Florida.
Lala’s recipe cards, filed under “meat,” “seafood,” or “poultry,” were written either in her slanted script, my mother’s fluid handwriting or my aunt’s bubbly scrawl. A few recipes reeked of the 1960’s (lots of casseroles, cream cheese spreads, etc.) but some stood out to me as meals I wanted to recreate, and write about. I’m planning on copying Lala’s recipes into a book the next time I visit Delray.
Je sens juste un soupçon d’ail – I taste just a hint of garlic.
Veux-tu un soupçon de vin ? – Would you like a drop of wine?