I entered married life armed with the essentials that every woman needs in order to be a successful wife: a loving husband, a warm place to call home, a trust-worthy cookbook, and a five-quart crock pot.
Oh, and plenty of spices.
From the minute I became engaged, I began to obsess about how I was going to fill my future kitchen with these costly, just-can’t-cook-without-them bottles of goodness. Was I supposed to come home from the honeymoon, only to make a trip to the grocery store and drop two hundred dollars so that I could have cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and basil? And what about the flour, sugar, garlic powder, and salt? How was I to make cookies? Spaghetti Sauce? A decent chicken salad sandwich??
This was the major dilemma. I knew that I’d find the perfect wedding dress and that somehow everyone would be happy with the seating arrangement. But how — oh how — was I going to buy all those necessary items for my kitchen?
Well, the thing about family is that you don’t always have to voice your concerns in order to get them to step in and save the day.
Because it all started with a small box of corn-starch…
It was sitting on my bedroom dresser when I got home from work, along with a bag filled with spices.
Cinnamon. Chili powder. Rosemary. They were accompanied by a note which promised that more was to come.
My Memere and my mom teamed up to make sure that I would have the essentials when I started life in my new home. When I visited Memere on the weekends, there would be a bag of flour or sugar sitting on the kitchen table, waiting for me to come by and take it home. And when we watched the Food Network together in the comfort of her living room, she’d suddenly exclaim, “Oh, that’s right. You’ll need baking powder too.” And then the following week, I would step into her kitchen and see the box of baking powder… just waiting.
Little by little, I saw the bare shelves of my soon-to-be-first-kitchen filled with the baking items I needed. Sometimes, when I was at the apartment to clean, I’d open the cabinet doors, just to breath in the rich aroma and to dream of all the foods I’d prepare. To dream of the people I’d take care of with my cooking, just as my mom had chased away the gloomies with chicken soup or just as Memere had made a bad day better with her homemade donuts.
Three years have come and gone. The apartment has been left behind for a first house. Memere passed away this past May. And I have just reached the bottom of my first little box of cornstarch.
I can’t bear to throw it away. I think the front of the cardboard box will find its way into a frame… and then onto a special place on the kitchen wall. Not only is it my first box of cornstarch, but it brings me back to a time when two special women stepped in to take care of me.
Tonight, I wanted to just curl up in the corner of the kitchen and cry. Because I miss Memere so much. Because I’m so thankful for everything my family has done for me.
And because it really is more than just a box of cornstarch.
It represents a whole lot of love.