Tia Miriam showing us how high she could kick her leg, Summer 2007
Yesterday my Great Aunt Miriam died. She was a woman of remarkable strength and humor, but our greatest connection was through food. Even the news of her death was interspersed with a recipe for spiced plum juice.
She was the Julia Child of the family. At times she horrified us with chicken jello and mystery meat pate, but her desserts were divine and her recipes always worked. The last time I visited her in Chile in 2007, I watched her take a meringue to stiff peaks with only an analog whisk in hand. I could only help for a minute or two before aching for an electric mixer...and she was the one with severe osteoporosis and 70-odd years of age. I hope I inherit some of her strength.
I'm grateful I got to spend some quality time with her in the kitchen, writing down recipes and learning tips and tricks along the way. From her I learned to add a piece of cinnamon stick when caramelizing onions to make them more digestible (and to lend an exotic air to any sauce); that everything tastes better with garlic; and that jam is done when you can see the bottom of the pot as you stir.
She loved to experiment in the kitchen and dreamed of coming to help me in my chocolate shop. I'm sure we could have made some amazing flavors together.
Tia, you will always be loved and missed.