This Mother's Day Page will take you to my year'round tribute to Mom
that's been part of "Need A Recipe?...Call Mom!"
since it was
created in 1999.
My mother loved to cook and bake. Like all good Pennsylvania Dutch cooks of her generation, she seldom used a cookbook. Mom's recipes were "in her head". She could instantly tell you how to make a pie or what to add to the salad dressing, in amounts like "heaping tablespoons" or "a little more than half a cup". She always knew exactly how much that was! Fortunately, I have most of her recipes. I would often ask her to translate the heaping cups and spoons to standard measurements that I could record and save. Many of her recipes were also handwritten in a small spiral notebook of her "Finest Recipes".
Alzheimers disease took away her amazing memory. The disease was very subtle at first. It took a few years before we realized that the memory lapses were more than simple forgetfulness. After several years of gradual decline, it progressed rapidly for the next few years. Mom eventually had to live in a nursing home. She lived in her own little world during the later stages of that cruel disease. On good days she was awake, but staring blankly at something far away. She occasionally vocalized a few garbled words that sounded like a strange alien language. Smiles were few and laughter was rare.
After several gagging episodes, she was only given strained foods to eat. She also had a problem with liquids, so a thickener was added to fruit juices and all her beverages. Bringing a treat from home or one of her favorite cookies or a candy bar when we visited --- something that once triggered a smile --- was no longer permitted.
Alzheimers is often called "The long goodbye", but I really don't know why. It's true, that in my mother's case, the disease lasted a very long time --- more than 10 years. Her thoughts, her opinions, her concerns, her emotions, and her entire personality was eventually gone. She no longer responded to "Mom" or "Nana". The loving wife, the adoring mother, the proud grandmother, and the sweet, forgetful great-grandmother... who still loved to cuddle and read stories... just slipped away. Although she was physically here, there was absolutely no way to reach her and no way to ever say good-bye. My mother passed away on Tuesday, July 19, 2005.
Like my Mother, I love to cook and bake! I'm a collector of cookbooks and my recipe box is filled with wonderful recipes from friends, from my sister, from my daughters and from other relatives. But.... the recipes from Mom are still the ones I use most often. Her tried and true recipes are my favorites... our family favorites.
To see the small spiral notebook with my Mother's "Finest Recipes" from over 60 years ago, see a picture of Mom and me, and read the words to a song she used to love, click on the picture below.
See the following websites for
information about Alzheimers Disease -
early signs, treatment, research, help
for caregivers, etc. -
2009 Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk - Donations
2009 Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk Information
Alzheimers at BellaOnline
National Institute of Aging - Alzheimer's Disease Information
Alzheimer’s Disease Research - Understanding Alzheimer's
Alzheimers Watch - Go60.Com
Alzheimer's Disease International
|The way my Dad cared for my Mother at home, for so many years, truly amazed and inspired everyone. Even as her condition deteriorated and she rapidly lost control of her body as well as her mind, he somehow managed to get her dressed up and took her out to eat everyday. He took her to the beauty parlor to have her hair done every week and he took great pride in dressing her in pretty clothes with perfectly coordinated jewelry.
When my Mother's illness eventually reached a point where she needed full-time skilled nursing care, it was nearly impossible to convince him that her physical needs were more than he could handle at home. Letting her go to a nursing home was extremely hard for him emotionally.
He spent nearly every waking hour there with her. He was always there to feed her lunch and dinner. He had his own meals there too. Except for a few hours when she napped in the afternoon and after 8:00 in the evening when they put her to bed, he was constantly by her side. Weather permitting, he took her for outdoor walks, a few blocks at time, a few times a day.
According to every source of Alzheimer's information regarding stages of the disease, my Mother's state of mind and physical decline reached the advanced or "final" stage at least 4 or 5 years before her death. This end stage typically lasts from 1 to 3 years. His constant attention and being there to feed her every part of every meal must have surely been a factor in her living beyond all expectations.
On Valentine's Day 2001, a few months before my mother entered the nursing home, a local news reporter, in search of a romantic story, saw the two of them in a restaurant and interviewed my Dad. Click on their wedding picture to read the article.
Their 63rd Wedding Anniversary was May 12, 2005. My mother passed away in July 2005. My Dad passed away less than 4 years later, in February 2009, also the victim of advanced dimentia.
He was 94 years old.
Visit the rest of
"Need A Recipe?...Call Mom!"
You'll find my Mother's
"Finest" Pennsylvania Dutch family
my recipes, recipes from my 3
daughter's - Karen, Lori & Kristen,
Cooking with Tara for kids,
hoilday and seasonal pages,
over 300 Brandname Food sites full of
recipes and more!
~picture from May 2000~
from left - Megan (Karen's daughter) -
Kristen - my sweet Mom
Me - Lori -
- Tara (of "Cooking with Tara".) Tara is also Karen's daughter.
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