We had a brief memorial for my aunt Midge over Labor Day weekend. It is stunning to me to think that 9 months have passed without her on this earth. In some ways I am getting used to the idea of her absence, but in other ways, the loss gets greater as day after day and event after event pass without her.
Her niece Maureen captured my feelings so beautifully at the service. I can't do her words justice, but the idea was: just because we go on with life, laugh, have fun, does not mean that we miss you any less. There is still a huge hole that we cannot fill and those moments of joy are bittersweet because you are not here to share them.
There are so many times when I want to call or visit to check in, to get advice, or just to chat. Although I may be learning to live with it, that feeling of absence does not go away.
The memorial did have a silver lining. I spent time getting to know family and friends of Midge's, some of whom I had met briefly over the years, but most of whom I barely knew. Each time I see them, I understand more and more why Midge loved them so much. Being all together in the house that she and my uncle shared for so many years made me feel that she was still very much a part of our lives. As my uncle said at the service, one of the beautiful things that she left behind was the love for each of us and the community that it created.
Midge's niece Linda wanted to make sure that anyone who wanted a tangible remembrance of Midge could have one. She set out all of Midge's jewelry, and we all chose something to wear or just to cherish. Linda also found Midge's recipes and set them out for us. I loved that! Most of the recipes were for party dishes, dips, spreads or pot luck dishes that could turn an ordinary evening into a celebration. Very appropriate since Midge made the party wherever she went.
For some reason, this simple recipe jumped out at me. It's a simple cheese spread. The ricotta and herbs have a fresh bright flavor and the feta adds just the perfect touch of flavor. I've modified the ratio of ingredients a bit, but left Midge's original directions which are perfect in their simplicity.
Midge would have known that.
Herbed Ricotta-Feta Spread
The dip can easily be made ahead, and may be even better made ahead because some sitting time gives the flavors a chance to develop. It will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.
Makes about 2 cups
15 minutes preparation time, plus time for chilling
1 cup ricotta
3/4 cup crumbled feta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chopped herbs such as parsley, thyme, and/or dill
1 tablespoon chopped chives or scallions
Mash all of the ingredients together with a fork. Chill for 30 minutes. Great on dark rye with tomato slices and sprouts.