"Memory is Hunger" - Ernest Hemingway
My mom had an innate talent of making everything extra special. With her, everything always had an extra special touch. Halloween costumes were always homemade – I remember coming home from school, warming up one of her chocolate chip scones, and watching her sew the Halloween costume we decided upon together: Little Red Riding Hood, Curious George, Eloise, Madeline, to name a few. Homemade cookie cakes were brought to every birthday celebration at school for me and for my brother, elaborate themed cakes (or her signature cakes with fresh flowers from our garden) always accompanied our birthday parties meticulously and perfectly planned by her at home. Even on St. Patrick’s Day she would put green food coloring in the bath for us. At Halloween parties, since our house didn't have much space, she would transform the garage into a (perfectly decorated) hangout for the kids - we would bob for apples, decorate cookies, watch the Nightmare Before Christmas. This was also her philosophy at Sweet Butter – to do something extra, to make it special.
My mom passed away two months ago. Others who have experienced a profound loss in their life have told me the first of everything is the most difficult. Yesterday was Sweet Butter’s 5th birthday- the first without her, and my brother and I are soon going to experience the first Thanksgiving and Christmas without our mom. The first Christmas morning without my mom in the kitchen making our Christmas-morning-only breakfast: what is now the SB Scramble, and the Sweet Butter waffles (only she puts a dash of cinnamon in the batter).
I miss my mom with everything that I have, but I feel so grateful to be surrounded by her legacy every day at Sweet Butter. She is in me, in my brother, in my grandmother, and she is everywhere in Sweet Butter. It is the most powerful, humbling, and rewarding feeling to go down to Sweet Butter everyday and see guests, both new and regulars who knew her, eating the food that she would make for my brother and I growing up that are entwined with our memories. I get to wake up every morning and see her, there, at Sweet Butter. My mom has taught me so much about entertaining, cooking, adding that extra special touch, and now I get to use at SB what I’ve learned from her – my job description is being my mom and that is the best gift I could receive this Christmas.
I love and miss you, mommy!
My mom, Leslie, in front of the wrought iron gates when SB was under construction and right before opening in 2010.
My mom and some SB staff waving from the kitchen window!
Chef Ludo (!), me, my mom, and Mia (of Mia's Breakfast!) in 2010
Paul and Rick putting together tables before the grand opening!
Family brunch in 2013!
My Grandma, Louise, and my mom during SB's first months.
My mom, Calethia, Paul, Harper (the Sweet Butter Baby!), and Colette last year at SB.
Me as Curious George (costume sewn by my mom - no pattern!) and my Dad as the Man in the Yellow Hat in Kindergarten, 1995.
Blowing out my birthday candles with mommy at my 12th Birthday Party (cake by mom!)
My and my mom, 1991.