When my mom had cancer, my freezer meals were there for her when I couldn't be
All that love — in the form of frozen food — was ready and waiting for my mother whenever she needed it.
Courtesy Ali Rosen/ Noah FecksJuly 29, 2021, 4:42 PM UTCByAli RosenIf the old adage,"Cooking is love made visible," is true, then how do you show your love when you can’t be there in person?In 2011, the first time my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, she found out the day I was moving from my home in Mumbai and I hadn’t yet lined up my next work plan in New York, where I was planning to return. So I flew right to her side. I could spend the weeks after her surgery with her in her home in Charleston, South Carolina, showing my love the best way I knew how — through cooking.
Me and my mom in New York in 2015.Courtesy Ali RosenFive years later, her cancer came back. I was busy with a career in food media at that point. But more pressing, I was 34 weeks pregnant with my first child. There was never going to be an extended stay for me to putter around and cook and hover. I couldn’t channel all my fear and love into
to try to heal her back to health.Or could I?I flew down to Charleston anyway, checking in with the OB who had delivered me to make sure he would be around in case I went into labor. And I made a plan to stand in the kitchen as much as I could. I bought a boatload of new Tupperware, cleared out her freezer of all the old stuff she was never going to actually eat, and started cooking. I had never really considered freezing anything in my life, but at that moment, it was the only way to somehow be in multiple places at once, for as long as I needed to be. And luckily, the comforting soups and stews were all Freezer 101. I left Charleston feeling like I had left little pieces of myself in her freezer — ready to be there for her in some physical way even when I couldn’t truly be. headtopics.com
A freezer fully stocked with meals.Noah FecksMy son was born when she was visiting two weeks later — in town for both the baby shower she had insisted on and a second opinion from another doctor. We did the baby shower in the hospital (she wouldn’t hear of canceling it). We soaked in our quality time, and a few days later, she was back on a plane. Her first round of chemo ended up being eight days after he was born.
The freezer — this appliance I had previously ignored as a place solely for ice cream and gin — had stepped in and been a partner to me when I desperately needed one. All that love was ready and waiting for my mother whenever she needed it. It wasn’t dependent on my schedule or physical presence.
Some one-pot freezer meals: pork chili, carrot ginger soup, buttery lentils with spinach and eggplant Parmesan.Noah Fecks Read more: »
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