I always tell people that my Memere was one of the most amazing people I ever knew and would ever know. She was kind, and loving. She was strong, and sure. She gave all her time to local charities and church work. She may have been old, but she was young at heart. I still laugh about the times I spent with her. We had simple rules for visiting her. The first was to never tell you were coming to visit. The second was to never eat before you went and the third was to always tell her that you had already eaten so that she would only make you eat one plate. “You're too skinny” was her favorite phrase. She was always cooking- in her 90's and still running the household. Watching her cook was an amazing site. She quickly chops ingredients from her garden and tosses them into her giant pots. She carefully weaves pies and decorates cakes. The aroma of her meals fill the streets. The flour caked on her apron is a pleasant and familiar look. If she doesn't have guests, she'll feed the neighbors. Everyone loves Memere and she loves them. In fact, I believe that love was her secret ingredient. All she ever wants to do is make others happy. She dedicates her life to her family, friends, church, and charity. Her birthday is always a grand affair. She throws a huge block party for everyone to celebrate life in general. It literally brought the neighborhood together. She never asks for anything in return. When she died over 300 people from across the world (people from England, France, and Russia came). We all met up at her house and reminisced about the times we had shared. Our favorite memories could all be boiled down to or add up to one day to celebrate it all- her birthday. She wanted more than anything to spread joy and happiness, so we all decided to carry on. The tradition of Memere's block party is still alive and well. It serves as a day of remembrance and a day to come together and celebrate each other. In my family and in those touched by this amazing woman, cooking is not just something to feed our empty bellies. It is a time to share, connect, love, and celebrate. My Memere passed down more than memories- she passed down a way of life.