[View some more photos of Sue at this Picassa album.]
Sue loved good food.
Of course Sue loved her family, and she loved Cohasset, Mass (where she grew up), and she loved her work with the Society for Hematopathology, and she loved puzzles and card games (especially Bridge), but she really loved good food, and she loved preparing and serving good food to those people she loved.
I count myself very lucky to be included in that group, mostly because of my recent association with her eldest daughter Alison; her endearing nick-name for me was “SonInLaw” which mimicked the same salutation given to her husband by her mother. We bonded over food: were the steaks thick enough? And how long would we need to cook them? How should we slice the potatoes? How much cayenne pepper should we add? If we refrigerate the blueberries, can we whip the cream just before serving? Would you like another cheese straw?
Implicit in these questions was that she was interested in my answer. She didn’t ask simply to include me in the process so that I could feel as though I contributed. She asked only when she needed to know the answer to a question that she didn’t actually understand. It occurred to me only late in our relationship that these questions were truly her way of offering respect. After all, when I boldly opened, in the few times she accepted me as her Bridge partner, that we would make 1 club, she always knew when to bid game, and when to pass. When Sue was my Bridge partner we NEVER lost a bid (unless I was playing the hand…).
She also loved to buy lunch for me and her daughter, especially when it was Japanese. Her favorite item, when she could find it on the menu, was grilled yellowtail collar, a thrifty roasted celebration of the succulent meat found around the base of a yellowtail tuna’s head and gills. She must have acquired a taste for this when she and her family lived in Hiroshima in the 1970s. Still she always encouraged me to order from the sushi menu as long as I would order her some yellowtail and some tuna to share. Because she most often was buying, I never minded allowing for extra chop sticks on my plate.
Late in Sue’s life she acquired a taste for a fresh cappucino, and I was always ready to satisfy her need for a bit of dark stuff and fluff. It was always after a dinner Alison and I had cooked for her and Cos: roasted chicken and new potatoes; grilled steaks and sliced tomatoes; lobster and potato chips; or Coquille St. Jacques and fresh peas. Her request for a cappucino really meant “Nice dinner” and I took it as such. It made me feel like a member of her family. It made me feel loved by Sue.
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