Over the weekend, my friend Leslie passed away. Even though Leslie and I both loved to cook, somehow we never cooked for each other. That seems so odd now, I'm not sure how it happened, and I so wish we had. There was talk of a shipment of Madeleines to my door at one point, but that's as close as I came to tasting her food. So instead of cooking for each other, we shared advice about food with each other.
For my tips on turkey brining, I received in return two full pages of New York City recommendations from someone who knew and loved the city better than almost anyone I know. When she returned to New York to visit, she insisted on taking me to Pastis, and introduced me to their green beans. I'll never eat them again without thinking of Leslie. She even had a VIP phone number for reservations at Pastis and tried to share it with me, encouraging me to use it while she was living in San Francisco and unable to take advantage of it. "How could I pass for you?" I asked her, "That's crazy!" They all knew her there, she was a memorable figure. There was no way I could walk in and give my name as Leslie.
Whenever I go to a Le Gamin cafe, I can hear her voice in the menu items. I can hear her articulating the deliciousness of Oeufs Gamin. I can hear her emphatically stating that the cafe au lait at Le Gamin is The. Best. In. The. City. I've never dared have one anywhere else since I moved here. Of course, she didn't share her food tips with me alone, she posted pictures and recipes of an entire vegetarian dinner with recipes to Flickr.
I've been looking for a good recipe for my Christmas cookies this year. Fittingly, Leslie's last advent calendar post contained a recipe for Simple Sugar Cookies. When I saw it, I noticed she hadn't posted a frosting recipe. I'd planned to email her about it. I'm certain the one she would have shared with me would have been the best. Leslie wouldn't have had it any other way.