Mama’s Kugel Recipe

When you lose an important person in your life you don’t lose them all at once but it seems in waves; you never stop remembering and you never stop losing. Sometimes you remember something about the person that has gone unnoticed for so much time; and just as unexpectedly sometimes you can’ t recall something.

In the days and weeks after my mother’s death it felt like the continued loss compounded – the loss of the body, the loss of the presence of the person I counted on and continued to feel close to, the loss of my own security or assuredness in the world. There was the loss of items given away sometimes in haste. There was the loss of the stories never spoken or the questions falteringly never asked. And for my sister and I there was the food she cooked. We couldn’t figure out if she had written certain recipes on loose paper or heart shaped post-it notes somewhere amidst the cash she hid in dust covered books. Yes, I have her fabulous chocolate mousse recipe!

The immediate weeks after my mother’s death, we found eating was a chore and a responsibility to keep ourselves alive; all we wanted was to sleep and hope that this experience was just a horrible dream. The Jewish high holidays came and my sister asked if I had our mother’s Kugel recipe or knew if she had it stashed away somewhere. I didn’t know, we lost again in a breath something else from the woman we wanted more than anything to hold onto for dear life.

We have lost so many more times in the moments between those immediate days of grief – some things have been larger and some smaller. We have both become stronger since those tremulous days. I did make a version close to my mother’s Kugel that year, we ate it appreciatively although we noticed what we missed more than what it reminded us of.

It can only happen if one loses that when something else is found later it means so much more than if it was always a part of their life. So it is with my mother, but this is not a story of how I found her again, she is still sorely and sourly missed here on earth. This is the story of how a piece of her can someday reappear and resurface with no notice. It came to pass because after way too much time my very archaic computer recently took its last bow and I was made to get a new sweet apple in my life! Yes, I had been typing on a computer so old that the very connections to it had been replaced and I think they were showing versions of it in the Smithsonian.

With my new computer in hand I had to transfer all of my files over and noticed my mother’s e-mails were too old to transfer. Another loss, sigh. So I went into my old and beloved computer and manually saved all of her messages. I read her disjointed notes – her subject lines of:

holding my own, i hope

mom running away……

the waxing moon or is it waning????

they cut down my TREE

A new breath…things found. And there amidst all her lowercase ramblings I had avoided looking at but couldn’t bare losing, I found something else…

mama’s kugel recipe…

With this new jewel found I made my mama’s kugel recipe this year for the Jewish holidays. I savored the flavors she sent almost as much as I savored the way she sent me notes on the moon or her running away.

Below is her unaltered recipe; I will say this time I made it with cottage cheese and Greek yogurt and it was delightful!

mama’s kugel recipe

a pound of egg noodles, about 4 eggs, one half cup of brown sugar, some vanilla, a pint of sour cream, and some cottage cheese or some yogurt and sourcream, or just cottage cheese, you can play with this as all in this recipe, so first you cook hot noodles, then after you drain them you throw a little butter to coat them, then you have in another bowl, your eggs, sugar vanilla, maybe some cinammon all blended together, you put that in the bowl and stir, and then you fold in the creamy things like the sourcream stuff, and then you can put raisins, or chopped up dried apricots, or golden raisins, my favorite, and you then blend together, and bake in a 3;25 oven,  you bake it in a rectangle pan that you have sprayed well with that pan stuff. also if is is too brown on top put a sheet or tin foil over it,  i like to play with this alot over the years, it is good hot, warm and cold, and room temperature, it is verey rich so thin slices cold are lovely to eat from the frig…..enjoy and good luck… oh it bakes maybe a 45 to 1 hour……

I like to think of my Jewish mama with a kerchief on her head is still out there somewhere and sending me recipes. I like the finding of things more than the loss; but had I never thought this recipe was lost I never would have found it so happily years later.

And just because this was such a somber post for a rather brilliant fall day, I thought I would include a few pictures from a recent day trip to Cold Springs, NY with my friend Gina. Because yes, there is always another cup of tea to be had and another hat to try on in life.

Cheers to you and every hope you can have more found in life than lost.

From my mama and me,

Ramona Sky

Photo Credits: Photo 1, 2, and 8 by Gina

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10 2011

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  1. Jason #


    • ra #

      Thanks Jas! And thanks for all of the support and encouragement. XOXO

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