Sunday, June 29, 2008

Some things get better with time

There are dishes that you prepare that are supposed to sit for a while before you eat them so that the flavors "marry." Pea salad is one of those dishes. I haven't made pea salad in almost ten years.

As with most things in my life, there's a story behind that little bit of information. My mom was a terrible cook. She could slaughter a box mix. Really. However, there were a few things that she could fix better than anyone. She could fling a mean hamburger. I still don't know what she did to them, but she made hamburgers better than anyone I know. She was also the queen of fudge-making. I've tried for years to use her recipe and get the same results, and sadly, I fall short. (My sister inherited the crown.) She could also just whip up a marvelous pea salad.

Shortly after she went home to heaven, my family was eating at a buffet and I was at the salad bar. I saw the pea salad and found myself standing in public with tears coursing down my cheeks. I would never have Mom's pea salad again. It sounds like such a little thing, but my heart was truly broken. I couldn't hardly eat anything the rest of the day. Time passed. One day several years later I was again at a buffet (hey, with six kids, you do what you can) and I saw the pea salad. This time, though it was bitter -sweet, I wanted some. I ate it quietly and thought of Mom.

Today, for the first time since before she died, I made pea salad. This time the memories that flooded my heart — memories of a woman who couldn't hardly boil water but could stir up a pea salad to die for — this time the memories made me smile.


judy said...

Terri, I've found pea salad is not for everyone...but I so enjoy it. No one in my family eats it by choice so from time to time I get hungry for it and make a good-sized bowl and enjoy it for days.

Yours looks a bit different than mine. Is that carrots I see? I wish I could join you for some.

Terri said...

Actually, those are little cubes of cheddar cheese. I, too, wish we could share some pea salad and ice tea and just talk.

Starr said...

Gotta say I'm not a fan of pea salad. LOL But Terri, woman, I LOVE the way you write! Man I REALLY do!
You put the reader right there where you are and I LOVE to read any author that can do that. I could actually see you standing by the pea salad with your plate hanging limp and the tears quietly sliding down your cheeks.