The shower water was getting too cool so I turned up the hot faucet. I was shampooing my hair with more vigor than usual, and trying to recall Suzanne’s recipe for Rillette. I remembered the pork butt, and duck fat, and crushed hot pepper and nothing else. I scrubbed my hair even harder in an futile attempt to recall the rest of the recipe. Perhaps if I massaged my scalp, the ingredients would be revealed. I could not recall anything else. I rinsed my hair, and bagged the conditioner treatment. The forgotten recipe had my total attention.

For many years since her death I have planned to make the Rillette, and at one time I thought I recalled the entire recipe. With the passage of time, each ingredient has slipped into  the fog of memory. As I was drying myself, I felt a sudden  sense of relief. A complete sense of comfort. I stopped reaching for the recipe recall. I felt so pleased – so at peace.  I realized that I did not need the recipe. I did not need to make Suzanne’s Rillette. I will never make the Rillette, and I had no need to revive the recipe.

I knew the Rillette. I knew how it looked in the bowl. I knew the color. I certainly knew the unique taste. I could see the cornichon at the edges of the bowl.  The Rillettes was mine forever, and what is more I saw Suzanne preparing the Rillette. I saw her face, hair, and apron covering her dress. I heard her voice while cooking. I could see her mashing the pork, and mixing the elusive ingredients. And then, the taste, the bread, the wine, and the joy of having lived through the experience. I knew I could never – no not ever reproduce the Rillette, and certainly not that moment in our life.  Our memories are unique, precious, and so private. I am very pleased they are private. They cannot be shared, nor recreated. What a treat!




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