Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Mamy Durandeau

Mamy Durandeau with my God daughter, Emilie

"She was a wonderful cook", said Jacques.  He was misty eyed, sipping his water with a drop of Pastis. "She prepared the most remarkable dishes out of nothing." He was talking about Mamy Durandeau. "Out of nothing", he repeated. "Did you hear me? Even a plain macaroni gratin was special coming from her kitchen." Brigitte's brothers had been arriving in town one by one. We were there to gather as a family to honor her.

After dinner, Brigitte had taken Mamy home, helped her into her bedclothes, and tucked her comfortably into bed. Brigitte, in her constant loving way, folded her blanket back just so. Mamy said to Brigitte "Thankfully, I have you." and smiled. Brigitte made her way home as always.

We were down south for the New Year. Loic came upstairs to deliver my coffee to me in bed and pick up the baby. I have two things to tell you, "...and Mamy passed away". I don't remember what the first thing was. Mamy passed away. His news dropped and everything before and afterward was erased. Mamy Durandeau ... So many memories.

My mother-in-law shared Mamy's recipe with me for Vin d'Orange, among many others.  Yesterday when we were all packed up and rolling out of town, after the funeral in a little church near her old home in Mourillon and a gathering of the surviving generations, I saw a Seville orange tree laden with fruits. It stood in the old dirt courtyard of a house by the road. Cars were filing by and this tree stood gleaming in the dust. My heart caught in my throat. The color was so hot and alive and the air, the day, the sadness, so cold. I asked Loic if I was imagining it or was the whole Cote d'Azur covered with fog that afternoon. It was difficult to appreciate the remarkable color from the tree with how I felt yesterday, but this morning I thought about it again and they came back like a vivid dream in my mind's eye. We are going to do a batch of vin d'orange in honor of Mamy Durandeau this week.

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Blogger RachelD said...

I send you my heartfelt sympathy, and gladness that you were a part of a life so fulfilling and well-lived.

And if you lived nearby, you KNOW I'd be on your doorstep with a big 'nana pudding.


6:51 PM, January 06, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'm so sorry to hear this and I'm sending endless sympathy and love your way.

What a lovely tribute to her life, though. Cheers to a life well-lived and memories that go on and on.

7:04 PM, January 06, 2010  
Blogger Anita (Married... with dinner) said...

Dear Lucy and Loic,

I am so saddened to hear of Mamy's passing. We make her Vin d'Orange recipe every year, and I am sure that in this way -- with culinary legacy she leaves behind -- she will long be remembered fondly both by the family and strangers like me all around the world.

All my best to you.

8:20 PM, January 06, 2010  
Anonymous Sara said...

My sympathies for your loss. This was a beautiful post.

2:26 AM, January 07, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a lovely remembrance! My sympathy at your loss. How lucky you were to get to know her.

5:28 AM, January 07, 2010  
Blogger mangeur said...

It is said that no one dies who is remembered. We have shared both Mamy's recipe for vin d'orange and the resulting orange wine to many friends in the US as well as in France. Thank you for sharing your loving descriptions of her joie de vie. She will be remembered.

3:47 AM, January 08, 2010  
Anonymous Abra said...

Désolée ! Bisous à vous deux.

10:31 PM, January 08, 2010  
Anonymous Claire said...

Losing someone is always dreadful - I know, but I hope you can take comfort that noone loved is ever truly gone. I hope you get the chance to mourn a life lost whilst celebrating a life shared.
With best wishes from Sydney x

2:48 AM, January 10, 2010  
Blogger christine said...

Oh I'm so sorry for you and for Loic and his family. It's wonderful you have her recipes though. You'll think of her each time you make something of hers.

9:56 PM, January 12, 2010  
Anonymous marie delafontaine said...

Your mamy left you her rich culture through food and love. She'll be forever with you.
Une si belle vie, de si beaux souvenir.
Je pense à vous!
marie du pays de gex (friend of anne)

2:18 PM, January 13, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My all-time-favorite post of yours was about Christmas dinner at Mamy's...

I'm so sorry... but I know she's smiling down on you from heaven.

11:22 PM, January 27, 2010  

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