Spending time in the kitchen is one of my fondest Mama Alice memories. She taught me to cook, which is important because everyone should cook. She also taught me to love learning and to care about the food I ate. Without a doubt, everyone I have ever lived with changed and improved their diet. And often I will give unsolicited lectures about simple carbohydrates versus complex with a side of green veggie prophecy. I can’t begin to take credit. I had a brilliant muse, simple as that.
While we cooked, she taught me about music’s potential to be poetry, inspiration and comfort. We listened to her busted up Bob Dylan and Joan Baez records. She loved those albums but paradoxically neglected her most prized possessions, a torch a carry on. In addition to teaching me about music, she taught me about the world. For someone who never stepped foot on a plane, her myriad interests ran the gamut from politics to pop stars.
In line with her passion, we listened to NPR as we cooked. That’s when she exposed me to one of my greatest loves: Terry Gross. So last night I cooked a feast for my friend and turned her on to Jon Stewart’s interview with Terry Gross, a masterpiece of inspiration thanks for Stewart’s humble genius. We listened as I dutifully chopped and simmered knowing my mother’s influence continues to effect positive rituals.
In case you don’t listen to this interview, which is a mistake, I will share Jon’s most profound nugget knowing my mother would have passed this gem on as well. In talking about his move New York to pursue comedy, he said, “Just because you set the bar low doesn’t give you any more guarantee that it will work out.” He went on to say that he went to New York to get into trouble because trouble leads to revolutionary concepts. Lucky for me, my mother gave me the tools to make some trouble in her honor and absence.