Grandpa4444 (Bob) was an excellent cook. From his stir-fries, to his chili's, to his homemade wines and venison jerky, it was always a treat to be fed in his house. He always made plenty to take to work or a neighbor's house, or just in case another place at the table needed to be set.
I especially appreciated Bob's cooking, because I was a neophyte cook myself, but he was always praising my efforts. One meal of his that we especially loved was his Fillet of Beef Moutarde Forestiere. He made it a couple of times a year; sometimes for particular occasions, but other times, just for an extra special meal. When I gathered recipes for the first family cookbook that I made for my side of the family, I knew I had to have Bob's filet in there, so I got the recipe from him.
The last night we had dinner all together at the 4444's house, we were celebrating Grandma4444's birthday, and Bob was making his filets. Bob was always happy when cooking, and I was glad to see him have something to smile about, as we had lost his 90-year-old mother, suddenly, just six weeks prior. His heart was broken, and I knew cooking dinner for us would help lift Bob's spirits.
Whenever he made the filet, he added lots of extra mushrooms, because he knew I would come into the kitchen to steal some as he cooked. (I think he would have been disappointed had I not, as it became a little tradition of ours.) That night, preparing to sneak some of the sauteing slivers of mushroom heaven, I literally thought to myself, "I'm glad I have this recipe written down, because some day, he won't be here to make it for us." Of course, since he was only 65, I had no idea that would be the last night Bob would lovingly prepare a meal for us.
After dinner, we prepared to leave, and each of us got a big bear hug from Grandpa. His last words to me were, "I love you, too, Honey." The next morning, he was gone, having suffered a massive, fatal heart attack.
There are more stories about Bob in this blog, but I'm writing today's post as background for a Mrs.4444 Cooks post. Last Saturday, Mr.4444 prepared his dad's famous dish, in honor of his mom's 72nd birthday. Brother4444 was in town with his family, and we really had fun. The meal was fantastic, there were many moments of laughter (so much that I cried more than once), and we had a great time playing Apples to Apples and the Game Wave.
Food; recipes, memories, gathering around the table...I'm so glad we've held on to our families' traditions. They bring us all together and keep us connected, no matter how far apart.
Thanks, Bob. We love you! :)