Blessed by a Glimpse of the Father She Barely Knew

Her mother teaching her son to cook proved to be an unexpected blessing for this mom.

Posted in , Jun 23, 2022

Sabra Ciancanelli; photo by Roy Gumpel

“My oldest son, Solomon, is nearing 20. Though he excels at everything musical, practicing guitar and trumpet for hours at a time, he never got around to learning how to cook. So when my mom offered to teach him, one meal at a time, one day a week, I thought it was a great idea.

“What should we make first?” Mom asked. “Potato leek soup? Lasagna?”

“How about starting with something easy, like a grilled cheese?” I said.

“That’s too easy, Sabra. Can we at least put bacon on it?”

“Bacon it is,” I said.

That first cooking session, Solomon spent the afternoon mastering the perfect grilled cheese. He came home with a smile and explained in detail how my mom had taught him to flip a sandwich without a spatula, using a sponge to practice.

Later that afternoon, I talked to Mom. “It was a wonderful day!” she said. “He told me all about a book he’s reading for college. Chapter by chapter with dialogue. It’s as if I read it myself. Just like your father.”

“Really?” I asked. “Dad was like that?”

My parents had divorced when I was very young, and my dad had moved to another country, leaving me with only a handful of memories of him. After he died a few years ago, I let go of any hope that I might know him better.

“Your father was exactly like that, a great storyteller,” Mom said. “This cooking together is a good thing. I have to think about what Solomon and I should make next!”

I thought about the two of them cooking together and making memories that will become stories worth retelling. Not just strengthening the bonds of today and tomorrow but—miraculously—giving me a peace that I never thought I might have, the blessing of glimpsing my father through my son.

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