I miss her fried chicken.
I miss her lasagna.
I miss her dessert inventions.
The fried chicken was brined overnight, battered by hand, and crisped in an ancient cast iron skillet greased with lard. I usually only got such a treat once a year as my birthday supper request. Mary spent the bulk of an afternoon working on it, flour spread about the kitchen, grease splatters near the stove. The results were ethereal: crispy, tasty outside, juicy, tender inside. Heaven.
The lasagna featured a sauce often made at least a day (or a few weeks) before, which gave it time to blossom into bountiful flavor. She made it ten pounds at a time, it seemed. It didn’t come out of the oven so much as it emerged, bubbling with ricotta and mozzarella goodness. When Kelly and I had kids, and when we decided to leave out grains and pasta from our kids’ diets, Mary reinvented the lasagna to include mandolin-thin sliced zucchini, which to our astonishment improved the recipe. She made Dad slice the zucchini.