I get it.
Chrissy posted a comment about making broccoli cheese soup, and it reminded me of my Dede (grandfather in Macedonian).
Dede was born and raised in war-torn Macedonia, moving to Canada, then immigrating to the United States where he worked for his uncle in his Ohio restaurant. Most of my memories of him revolve around food, and/or us talking by the kitchen with a 1970's oven, flowery plates, and a simpler motif. As he aged, my brother and I wanted to capture one of his favorite recipes, but here's the thing: you can follow the recipe, and no matter what you do, it won't be the same. You need to hear the love that goes into it.
So my wife, brother, and I videotaped Dede teaching us how to make the soup, starting with the vegetable broth. Adding butter (lots of butter), flour, then milk, it came into focus. Then, while listening to him tell stories and coach us through what to do, we added blocks and bricks of cheese; a lot of it. We stirred as the soup took form, thickening up, getting creamy and more orange with every drop of cheddar. We added the broccoli, stirred it up, and let it boil, stirring occasionally between laughs and bits of advice from an old man with a lot to teach a few young adults.
Salt and pepper to taste.
We sat around the dinner table that night, enjoying broccoli cheese soup and the company that it rallied together. Except for one person: Dede. He always told us that he was allergic to cheese (found out after throwing up during a cheesecake eating contest; Baba always laughed him off). He made the best broccoli cheese soup and never used the recipe, never even tasted it.
Those were simpler times, slower times, times focused on family and telling stories, learning from each other.
Maybe that will return.
Happy "Soup and Memories" Fishing
If you want to learn how Dede made his soup, here he is telling you all about it. For reference, they go in reverse order.