How do you keep writing about food when life throws you a curve ball? Do you just pretend nothing happened and keep blogging about cookies, cakes and tiramisu? Or do you pause from what seems like an inconsequential activity to reflect on the event with your readers? I’ve always wanted this blog to be about food – not my personal life – and I certainly never intended it to be maudlin. Yet when I took a blogging break during my husband’s illness and subsequent death, readers emailed to find out why I’d dropped off the planet. I had to explain. My post about “A Birthday Soufflé for Rich” not only gave readers insight into why I had disappeared from the blogosphere for a while, but was also therapeutic in expressing the emotions that threatened to overwhelm me. A surprising thing happened as a result, with dozens of total strangers responding to show concern for me and my family. So many of you said you missed my posts and were waiting for me to return. My brother Frank followed my posts and also encouraged me to return to blogging. My brother Frank – an expert mycologist who loved to cook, and who wrote a guest post for me in June 2009 on foraging for mushrooms. My brother Frank – who as a young boy, was always the mischief maker in the house, but as an adult excelled in everything he did. My brother Frank – who as a handsome young sailor in the U.S. Navy, served as a ceremonial guard aboard the U.S.S. Constitution in Boston’s harbor, and spent months incommunicado on the U.S.S. Henry L. Stimson, a nuclear submarine.
My brother Frank – who traveled the globe in his work as project engineer for a multi-national pharmaceutical company, but who favored the natural beauty of the woods more than any cosmopolitan place on earth. My brother Frank – who loved the ocean as much as the mountains, and who was equally skilled with a fishing rod as with a rifle: My brother Frank – who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, at just about the same time as my husband. My brother Frank – who died on New Year’s Day. My brother Frank – who was loved by his family and close friends, and who will be missed very much. My brother Frank – who’s now in a special place with the rest of my loved ones who have also left this earth.My brother Frank – who was writing a book about his hunting trips including these paragraphs in the intro: “It’s not about killing a monster buck or shooting a deer 300 yards away from a heated tripod elevated hut. We are not trophy hunters nor are we disappointed when we don’t ‘bring home the meat.’ I’d like to get the monster buck as well as the next guy, but that’s secondary to why I hunt. Just being out in the woods and sharing my experiences with my buddies is what it’s all about for me. Most times during the year, I can be found at a local archery club, or in the woods photographing nature, hiking and looking for mushrooms. Each of these pastimes aids in sharpening my skills for the glorious 10 days of autumn hunting. Make no mistake about it. I am a hunter, an outdoor enthusiast, an observer of nature. But hunting takes up only a small portion of my outdoor endeavors. A quiet walk in the woods observing nature unfolding around me, spending solitary time fly-fishing in a meandering trout stream or feeling the salt spray on my face while at the helm of my sport fishing boat are what I consider quality time. The outdoors is the real story and I feel privileged at having had the opportunity to spend time there. A tree hugger I am not, but I have had the pleasure to hike through ancient northwestern forests, only to be humbled by the majesty of old growth hemlocks, cedars, and douglas fir as I listened to the muted sounds of solitude. Although I do not admit it that often, I have purposely removed my walking boots to feel the spongy forest duff beneath my toes. I strongly believe we are only temporary patrons of the land we live upon, and as such, enjoying and respecting Mother Nature should be paramount in any outdoor endeavors we undertake. As outdoorsmen and hunters, we have a responsibility to nature and to the quarry we seek. Never take this for granted, for someday it will also disappear.”