As urban legends go, Chuck Norris is the only one who managed to successfully convince his grandmothers he was no longer hungry. And I can relate to that big time.
My life would be very different should I have not been blessed with two incredible grandmothers. They couldn’t be more different from each other not only in the way they cooked but pretty much everything else.
One was a polyglot, a worldly person always dressed up, however modest she means. She always experimented with new recipes. Her sous-vide roasted chicken was something to die for. The soups were always exquisite, and no one could ever be bored at lunch or dinner.
The other one possesses hands with skin moulded by decades of working in the fields and gardens. Which on its turn gave her little time to spend next to the oven. She has several recurring dishes, which she managed to perfect in taste. Her scrambled eggs over the fire are something I will never forget. She is also the most strong-willed person I know.
When I was a young boy, I never paid much attention to this difference. It was as a given to me. I had these two grandmothers who made sure I was offered more than my stomach could possibly take in the most delicious way.
Many times, when it was our family’s turn to shepherd the sheep in the village. At midday when the animals rest, so did she and we would pull out of her bag a piece of white Bulgarian cheese, green pepper, tomatoes, boiled eggs and onion. However simple the lunch might look, it always felt like an exceptional culinary experience.
Later on, as a student far away, I would dream about their cooking every time the hunger strikes halfway through the month. I would make a list, and during my next holiday spent home, I would ask them to prepare each dish. And I would be in heaven.
My polyglot grandmother would greet me with a three-course meal, trying to get me gain a few kilos right there. We would start with a meatball soup, continue with meat skewers cooked on a slow rotation and finish up with the best watermelon ever.
Now, when one of them is long gone, and the other one’s health is ailing, I realise how much I was taking them for granted. No, I don’t mean the deliciousness described above. There are so many things they have taught me consciously and subconsciously. And I treasure having them in my life.
I have never managed to convince either of them; I was not hungry anymore. I guess I am not Chuck Norris. But I wouldn’t change them for the world. I just wish we could have spent more time together.
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