When I was a child, getting sick meant Mom would make me baked custard. I didn't understand why at the time, but it was better than the milk toast I would sometimes get!
When my friend Karen was dealing with a particularly virulent form of breast cancer, she needed something that she could easily digest and that was full of protein and calories. It was then I remembered baked custard and its healing effects. I offered to make her a batch and she was happy to have it. It soon became a weekly ritual for us and a chance to have a short visit - I would make a week's worth and deliver it to her, and we'd chat about our lives and the state of the world. She was an activist and a terrific advocate for immigrants and for people challenged by the medical system.
Karen lost her fight with cancer about a month ago. I miss her and our weekly visits, our dog walks, her sense of humor, and her persistence.
A couple weeks after her life celebration, I found out that our neighbor Mike had been diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Well, it was a no-brainer - I am back on custard duty! He and his lovely wife Lila live just half a block away, so it's easy to load up the scooter with a box of custard and deliver it to their porch steps. We don't get to hug anymore, but he is thrilled with the custard. He tears up every time.
It is more than nutrition and a soothing food - it is love and caring, hope and healing in a bowl. As I make the custard, I think about the person I'm making it for and infuse it with healing thoughts.
I also make a little extra for myself - it makes me think of Mom feeding me love in a bowl.
The extra photos:
1. This was yesterday evening on Division Street - it is usually teeming with cars and people.
2. I took up drawing this last year and did an illustrated custard recipe.
- Nikon D60