What is it about food that brings back so many fond memories? Tonight I used a ham bone in the Gloria Retzlaff Taylor’s Country Pea Soup recipe (on page 87 in our cookbook or see the December 29, 2009 blog). The ham bone was the remainder of my Honey Baked Ham Ranch House Breakfast gift, which was given to me by Raelene Vieux – a rancher and fantastic cook. Raelene shared her Potato and Ham Bake Breakfast Special recipe with my sister and me several years ago and we liked it so much we put it in the cookbook (on page 20). Along with her daughters, Melanie and Brenda, and granddaughter, Josey, Raelene was one of our recipe testers.
The fantastic Honey Baked Ham Ranch House Breakfast gift fed myself, my husband, a house guest, and the guests at the New Year’s Day gathering at the party barn. The Ranch House Breakfast included English Muffins, strawberry preserves, coffee, pancake mix, maple syrup, a pound of bacon and a 7 pound ham. To my delight there was a good sized ham bone left. My husband, Troy, had just been saying how much he liked split pea soup. Perfect! Finally an opportunity presented itself to try Gloria’s Country Pea Soup.
I had planned to make the soup on Sunday afternoon while watching football, but after stopping by the local market, they were out of split peas! The shopping for the vegetables was done, so decided to make it Monday after work, when I would be in Lodi and closer to other grocery stores. Lockeford has one grocery store – and it’s a good twelve miles to another. The recipe is not complicated and with few basic ingredients, it was one I could handle.
As I was making the soup I spied the picture of myself, Bob and Gloria Taylor and a friend Jennifer Marx that is in the cookbook on the page with the split pea soup. Gloria passed away this past year, so I was reflecting on some of the memories I had of her. Prior to living in the vineyard, the Taylor family lived next door to my childhood friend, Jane Drummond, in an old Victorian home. Gloria was an accomplished artist and I was very impressed by her large pieces of art. There were also memories of her son Noah, who was notoriously late for school with his friend John Drummond. They lived approximately 2 blocks from 5th Street School – but always found some distraction on their way there. This story was shared recently at Gary Drummond’s 80th birthday. The photograph also reminded me of the day I brought friends from Fremont to some of my favorite wineries in Livermore – Concannon and Retzlaff.
Bob Taylor, Jennifer Marx, Susie Calhoun, and Gloria Taylor in the picture from the cookbook
What had started as a gift of food, led me down a path of fond memories being created but also revisited.