My great-aunt passed away on Tuesday night. She lived a long and inspirational life, bringing joy to everyone around her. She was my grandmother’s sister and the last of the three siblings to pass.
About four years ago our family gathered to celebrate her 80th birthday. It was a wonderful time as she was well and healthy and couldn’t have been happier, surrounded by kids, nieces, nephews, grandkids, and cousins. It was on that trip that I realized that Bobbie wasn’t just inspirational in a matriarchal way, she was a culinary inspiration to the family.
This being my mom’s side of the family, most of us were born with some kind of cooking gene embedded deeply. But Bobbie was the baker. My mom used to tell me that when she’d go babysit her cousins she’d immediately raid Bobbie’s freezer because it was always full to the brim with cookies (of course she eventually got caught when her uncle reminded her one night to not leave the freezer door open).
Bobbie baked for everything. When she got older she’d send cookies to events she couldn’t attend, and she’d even send me recipes handwritten on recipe cards if she found a new one she liked. She never stuck to any one recipe, always trying a new version of this one or a change to that one (my mom is the same way).
Her granddaughter K went on to culinary school and is working in a restaurant now. Her other granddaughter, A, bakes stunningly beautiful cakes that rival any professional bakery. My cousin S and her husband opened their own fab Indian restaurant this year in San Mateo. My other cousin, I, started a restaurant in SF and is now a food/wine writer in New York, And I dabble in cooking here and there too.
While the rest of the family might not cook as a profession, everyone gathers around homemade food and everything that comes from our kitchens is made with love. Aunty Bobbie’s legacy will live on through this kind of deliciousness and we’ll all hear her in our ears every time we try another new cookie recipe.
In her honor, here are a few of my favorites: