3 years ago my grandma passed away. I still feel like she’ll appear at the train station whenever I go home. And for my birthday I expect her to call and sing ‘Happy Birthday’ in broken English. My grandma was very special to me, she was the apple of my eye and I was hers.
Grandma was the one who always told me to order whatever I wanted when we went to restaurants. ‘Never mind the kids’ menu, have the halibut if you want’, she would say.No doubt it was grandma that helped to shape my big interest in food. Although she wasn’t exactly keen on adopting new trends, she knew how to make meatballs, Sunday roast and other traditional Swedish dishes like no one else. If my mother and I sometime invited her over for tacos, she thought it was a complete novelty.
One of my fondest memories is my grandma taking me to a sweet shop, getting me a chocolate dipped marzipan pig. It’s a Swedish Christmas tradition, and I was, and still am, crazy about marzipan. But I knew my mother wouldn’t approve. She only allowed me to eat candy once a week, on Saturdays. Grandma, who I assume wanted the marzipan pig as much as I did, leaned in close to me and said, “let’s not tell your mother.” We often did things like that, her and I. A trip to town often involved getting something to eat, possibly even something we weren’t supposed to eat.
Grandma was skinny, but she had two spare tires on her otherwise tiny frame. Her vice was salted peanuts. As I always looked up to her, I wanted those, in my eyes, desirable flabby stomach features too. As I look back and start developing spare tires of my own (isn’t it amazing how metabolism slows down after 25?), I finally understand her point of view.
We travelled a fair bit when I was younger. My grandparents had a house in Spain, and we would totally indulge when we went there. They introduced me to the best pizza I think I’ve ever had, the best lamb racks and the best pork tender loin dish. The latter was (and is) so garlicky, that you will pollute the air for a good day. Poor grandpa who shuns garlic, he always had to put up with our stinking breaths. Whenever grandpa was away, grandma would stock up on salami in the fridge.
I have so many loving memories of my grandma and I could continue writing about them for days on end. I miss her terribly and feel so sad that I can’t share the fantastic food moments I’ve had in London the passed years. I know she would’ve loved to hear them. Her recipe collection has disappeared, but if I ever find it, I vow to master her specialties. Especially the infamous chocolate fudge cake and those amazing meatballs.