Funeral torte
Thursday February 09th 2012, 11:48 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Friends,Life,LYS

One of my husband’s co-workers saved a New York Times article a week ago and sent it home with him, wondering what we would think of it.  Front and center was all about what their food writer had declared to be Mormon cooking.  There was a big picture captioned “updated funeral potatoes,” a take on that classic dish for feeding a big crowd that was a novelty to the co-worker but not so much to us.

No I do not cook with canned cream of anything soup myself. Go for the classic au gratin here if anything, thanks. The writer would have you believe that means we’re a generation removed from living in Utah.

Actually, that part is true.

Meantime, a lot of life suddenly got squeezed into the last two days, too much. I hereby request a breather for a few, I thought earlier today.

And then I got exactly that. I got to meet DebbieR; she’s a peach. She was in the area briefly and we met up at Purlescence.

I opened that door, she was two steps away on the other side of it, she came towards me recognizing my face from the blog and told me she was Debbie and I instantly felt in the presence of a true friend. Everything there confirmed it totally. I feel so blessed.

She was traveling with some friends who were very good about waiting for us as we caught up as if we’d always known each other.

After they all left, I knitted quietly for awhile on a baby hat, getting my Sandi-Nathania-Kaye fix, and then excused myself: I needed to go home to babysit the phone I could hear on and my PC’s inbox.

I had gotten a message from Sam earlier: with ITP and lupus, there are episodes where you just hold your breath and pray real hard.  The last message we got sounded better; we’re hoping she gets a new med approved and that it will work because honey right now nothing else does.

Debbie had offered her to knit her fingerless gloves in her choice of color. Sam was thrilled. Debbie asked me if a lace pattern would allow too much UV exposure. Debbie is thoughtful and careful in addition to being generous with her time.

How do you thank someone who looks out for your child  and takes her into her heart as if she were her own? A shoutout to DebbieR: Thank you. It doesn’t begin to say it.

And yesterday.

My friend Andrea asked me a few weeks ago to make two chocolate tortes for her; sure. She brought me some of the ingredients, the most important to me being the manufacturing cream, because it is sold in an open-air store that has sun exposure issues for me.

So I had the rest of that half gallon of cream afterwards.  You can’t just leave it there. I baked. A spare torte ended up in the freezer.

Every time I asked Richard if he’d like it for xyz, for this group or that, for us to munch on or… ?, he would answer, not yet. No, let’s wait. No, let’s leave it in there for now. I thought I had good reasons to share it and free up the space; he just didn’t feel…

Okay, no problem. There was no rush.

Yesterday that co-worker’s wife got a call in the morning: her father had passed. She went off to work: where she was told she was being laid off after 27 years. She went to the doctor: she got told that yes, that was probably basal cell cancer.

She has a bandaid now for the part they could fix.

Richard asked his co-worker today to be sure. Then he asked me.

Oh honey absolutely yes.

And that is how the chocolate torte that Andrea made to come to be became a gift of friendship and community at the moment it was most needed.  Without my even having to go out in the sun to make it for them–I know how much that couple likes those tortes. It was something I could do. Did do, all ready.

They stood there in the dark in front of their house this evening, holding it gratefully, inhaling the thawing chocolate.

I thanked them for saving the article. We joked wryly over funeral potatoes. I told them chocolate torte was my real Mormon cooking.

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I went to Utah some years back on a ski vacation, and a coworker told me ‘be sure to check out the restaurants- the food there is awesome!’. He was right, too. 🙂

And I will confess to having cooked with cream soup- it’s the base ingredient in the macaroni and tuna casserole that was main dish for the first full dinner I ever cooked. (I was 10, the menu was tuna casserole, a vegetable, muffins, and pie for dessert. And it earned me my Girl Scout cooking badge. I’m still fond of it.)

Comment by RobinH 02.10.12 @ 7:29 am

I also admit to occasionally using cans of cream soup for certain recipes. Some of the cans came from my MIL’s basement and are probably older than you, young lady, so show them some respect. But Ralph makes a great chocolate cheesecake you would probably enjoy meeting. We have many ways of cooking. I wish your husband’s co-worker and his wife the best, and really hope that Sam’s doctors can help her to find something that will work.

Comment by LauraN 02.10.12 @ 7:58 am

Yeah, I have a funeral potatoes story, too. Sam is a good hanger-on.

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 02.10.12 @ 8:23 am

Oh goodness. That’s too much bad news in one day. What a blessing that torte – and the friendships behind it – must be!

And the same can be said for those mitts. Prayers all around.

Comment by Channon 02.10.12 @ 9:05 am

Yes, our visit was way too short, though I knew you needed to be home if Sam called. I have the advantage of getting to know you a bit through your blog, and am so delighted that you felt the instant friendhip too! Remind me again of what fibers are in the dark red and green yarns. And you left out the part of gifting me with an oh-so-soft scarf. A hug I can wrap around me.

Comment by DebbieR 02.10.12 @ 9:41 am

I lived in Utah twice for about 9 months each time a year apart — and totally missed the whole Funeral Potatoes thing while we were there — got introduced to them later by one of the DH’s aunts and I do like them (but then we’re talking a dish that includes potatoes — good by me anytime!!)

sorry there was so much all at once yesterday — and not surprised that you were prepared

Comment by Bev 02.10.12 @ 9:46 am

Did you come through Utah on your way to California?

Sounds like Richard had the timing down j u u u s t right.

Comment by Don Meyer 02.10.12 @ 10:41 am

Ah, life. It can be so hard. We are fortunate there are others, like Debbie and like you, who soften it.

Comment by twinsetellen 02.10.12 @ 9:03 pm

Many hugs for you, and for Sam, and for the coworker. If there is anything we can do PLEASE let us know, and in the meantime, we are sending what energy we can.

Comment by Diana Troldahl 02.10.12 @ 10:31 pm

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