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Proof of Pleasure

(by Jane Bernstein)

(I'm the wiggly youngest one.)

I think my mother loved to cook, but she never said so, and if I’d asked when she was alive, she would have brushed me off. Though spirited and outspoken, she never would have admitted feeling joy or loving anything. I suppose this was rooted in Old World superstitions–the family was from Moldova–because her five siblings were much the same: praise squelched, grievances aired with abandon. And yet, never did my mother complain about her decades in the kitchen, preparing meals for her immediate family or hosting holiday dinners for myriad relatives.