Cooking and family go together. Everyone gathers in the kitchen to catch up whether about the day or since a last visit from out of state. The cook is a natural host. In my kitchen I’ve had the pleasure of sharing my cooking with family and friends, and this post is about a special person in my life, Pa Brien.
Pa is my husband’s grandfather, and gave me a new chance at having a grandfather when I got married just about seven years ago. Pa, a veteran of WWII, at age 93 as I write this, just saw my second cookbook. The significance of that is that I dedicated the book to he and his late wife Helen (I never had the pleasure of meeting her).
Helen and Tom (Pa) loved each other dearly, as evidenced by the way everyone remembers her and their marriage. Pa speaks so fondly of Helen, and he remembers her cooking with such admiration. In fact, the whole family speaks of her wonderful cooking. A French girl who grew up in an Italian neighborhood on the East Coast…not a bad combo. I’m fortunate enough to have some of her recipes in my arsenal. Gram’s Meat & Mushroom Sauce quickly became a heavily requested dish once my husband caught on that I love to cook.
Pa loves Beef Stew. I’ve served it to him over tables for many years now. Pa no longer travels, but in writing my second cookbook, I was able to send him my original recipe to test. His daughter, my Mother In-law, brought a frozen batch with her on a flight during the holidays 2015. Pa actually sampled my stew recipe that appears in my book.
We’ll be seeing Pa later this year, but in spite of a printing issue with my book, I sent him the book to hold and read and to see the dedication of the book, and the “Pa Brien’s Guinness Beef Stew” recipe.
Today my Sister In-Law sent me photos of Pa looking through the book. My heart is so full of gratitude and joy and appreciation, I’m not sure if I’m doing this all justice. Pa saw the book. He saw the love and appreciation for his service to our country, for his wife and marriage, for his career and for his important place in my life. I want to share the photos of Pa seeing the book.
Thank you Pa for being my inspiration for getting this book done, as this book was challenging. Seeing you enjoy it makes everything perfect.