Celebrating Francie with Memories

She would have been 54 today. My talented, charming and beautiful friend, Francie.

2010.02.13 Celebrating Francie
Celebrating Frances Lee, 
May 25, 1956 - Jan 11, 2010

The memories of the last few days of her life are fading slowly, paving the path for her return in vivid, vibrant memories. Her laugh, which was an echo of pure sunshine, rings in my ears every time I think of her.

Happy Birthday, dear Francie, I will raise a toast to you tonight and to all the fun memories we made together. I cherish those as much as I do you.

* * *

I would like to recap the memories some of you sent in, the act of which is probably a memory itself since this is overdue by almost 7 months! But something tells me you won't mind rewinding a little bit and reading your own posts. I enjoyed them last year and I loved reading them again now. If you are game, tell me your thoughts as you relive the words you penned last fall.

Freshly made butter. Pillowy and white. Cool fat lingering on the tongue. Sweet undertones. Soft like a baby’s cheek. Clean cream. Who can offer such encomiums for that nasty ole margarine?
Who indeed! Maybelle's Mom made butter with her toddler.

There was a rhythm to the production and I didn’t want to acknowledge it but I loved the food prep. I suspect my mom knew it too.
I am sure she did! Jaya Wagle apologizes to her mother for being a brat as she reminisces while prepping stuffed anaheim peppers.

She always kept them polished and even as a kid I loved the two fat little jars, presiding over my aaji’s tiny little kitchen, sniffing the aromas of her simple cooking and my grandfather’s occasional mutton curry.
It's not just a simple cup of tea with biscuits. Jaya Wagle writes about two brass jars bursting with memories.

She waited with quiet patience for me to evince some interest in the kitchen and when that was not forthcoming she felt compelled to force-feed these skills to me.
Indian mothers are like that only! Deepika stirred up some memories with Mangalore cucumbers.

On and off, it hits me that here's a dish I used to have when my grandmother was around, and haven't had or enjoyed properly since she passed away - it's not always something exotic or special or unusual, just that it's unavailable to me for various reasons, one of them being a slowing memory.
That was the point of this exercise! Sra eulogizes her grandmother with a fiery mixture of constants and variables.

As a kid, there was something very exciting about all this activity with a rhythmic muted “whoomph” of the pounding in the background. 
Aparna took the modern route to make muthusaram with fistfuls of advice from her mother.

She sold the best fish, her credentials of being an excellent haggler, a sweet talker with the customer yet a tough women with anyone trying to cross her path.
Anjali digs deep into her Koli heritage to make sweet Mughal samosas.

I sat by her wide eyed while she toasted the seeds in the hot iron skillet on the clay oven. No ovens, no gas stoves, all she owned was a portable clay oven.
Soma toasted pumpkin seeds as she reflected on her grandmother's influence on her life.

Every perfect morsel, with a bit of eggplant and a portion of quince, was mixed into the rice with a little bit of the gravy and devoured in silence.
Anita regales us with tales of rare quinces from Kashmir.

Major props to Srivalli for turning around the fastest post ever on Kadambam Dosa - less than 7 hours since IFR: Memories was announced. Adai and flavorful coconut chutney! How could I say no?

Mooli parathas take PJ back to a meal after a bus accident in rural India.

As for me, reconnecting with friends from my childhood in Kenya led me to irio.

That, my friends, is the round-up for IFR: Memories.

To those of you who have not given up on me completely, I am going to try not to disappear again. I haven't worked out how often I will post but I am a firm believer in one step at a time, and this post is definitely a beginning.

Is it too late to say Happy New Year? Or should I just say I'm happy to be back?


Chris + Shalan G said...

Happy to have you back! Normally the silent stalker, even I was prompted to welcome you back. Now I can go back to stalking, again, quietly.

maybelle's mom said...

first, my condolences. I lost a student in november and have yet to get to the point where I am regularly posting. I can't imagine the loss of a dear friend.

second, i think it is actually nice to have this round up later. I always send my psots out into the cyberworld and forget about them. It was nice to go back in time.

musical said...

Big hugs to you, and welcome back!

Desisoccermom said...

Condolences on your friend's passing.

But happy to see you back with the wonderful roundup. Got to go and check the rest of the memories.

Srivalli said...

Sorry about your loss, good friends are hard to come by!

On the round up..OMG seriously!!!..heheh..it is always good to have you back on IFR, dear Manisha! and true it is good to remember those days again...later is better..

sra said...

She is so bright and vibrant. May we all have our memories of people, things and places intact!

At last, the round-up! Thanks for the personalising effort. They always make a round-up special.

Nupur said...

I am so happy you're back! With so many good reads stuffed into one post too.

Indian Food Rocks said...

I updated the post with Anita's entry so please go read her post, too!

Galtenbergs, everyone should have a gorgeous stalker such as you: wicked humor and amazing intellect!

maybelle's mom, thank you! I accept death as a part of life but that doesn't help numb the pain or the loss. I hope you are able to come to terms with your loss. Many hugs to you.

musy, thanks and hugs right back at you!

Jaya, thank you! I'm glad no-one is mad at me for making them write and then taking over half a year to collate the entries! Some beautiful writing in those posts for sure!

Valli, I have very few friends and those that I do have, I hold very close to my heart. I'm glad you think that later is better!

Sra, I wish I had been more observant in my youth. I would have more stories to tell than the silly ones that I do remember!

Nupur, that's the best part of this post - the writing from everyone else!

Anjali Koli said...

Manisha good to see you back. Hope you get new friends and build new bonds. People who have gone away do come back to us by way of memories and always a warm recall. Take care.

Anonymous said...

Manisha, other things tend to fall to the side when we lose ones dear to us; it takes time to mourn, time for those moments near the end to move from the centerpiece of the table up to their proper spot on the shelf to join happier memories. I'm going through the same thing, so...it was nice to read your post and all of these memories- they're all good, and things are as they should be.

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

I remember Francie's picture on your Flickrstream. Francie was lucky to have a friend in you in whose memory she shall continue to live. Here's to lasting friendships.

Good to see you back and a very Happy New Year to you too. In many parts of India, the New Year starts in April, so.......... :)

I had forgotten this event. So much for my memory! :D

Padmajha said...

Sorry about the loss of your dear friend Manisha..Good friends are sure hard to find..

I was just waiting for this roundup,but sadly my entry didn't find a place here..My post is here -http://seduceyourtastebuds.blogspot.com/2009/10/scary-night-and-memorable-breakfast.html.I had also sent you a mail after i posted the recipe..

Anyways,Loved the personalized words for each write-up..

A_and_N said...


Good to have you back.

Read, loved and admired all the posts and their bloggers.

Welcome back.

Soma said...

Condolences Manisha... sigh.. don't know what to say, for even after nine years I am struggling every single day after I lost my ma... every loss i hear about just crushes my heart and believe me i know the pain.

since the theme was memories, it is good that you posted it late ;-) I HAVE to find time to read thru all the ones I haven't yet.
Soma (www.ecurry.com)

Indian Food Rocks said...

Anjali, thanks! I am very lucky to have a bunch of really good friends.

elaichi, you are an old soul.

Aparna, so I was right on time?! Thanks for your entry.

PJ, I'm sorry! I'll update the post right after this.

A&N, hugs right back at ya!

Soma, I'm so sorry about your mother. It becamse easier for me once my mother started appearing in my dreams (however crazy that may sound.) I'm waiting for Francie, too.

Padmajha said...

Thanks for including my entry Manisha :)

Anita said...

I missed this one since I was out at the time. Shocked to find you had left me out of your memories at first?!

Good to see you back here. There is much to celebrate in life, and to cherish in memory.

Will come back to click through to all the good reads you have lined up.

Indian Food Rocks said...

PJ, you're very welcome!

Anita, and that wouldn't be because you sent me an email with all the details as requested? Like everyone else did? I used the emails cos my memory is like sieve these days. This blog comes in very handy for more reasons than one!