Food is a powerful trigger for memories. We all remember the food we had growing up. The "treats" we'd get when we were good. The foods we didn't like that we were forced to -- at the very least -- try. Big holiday meals.

As we enter Easter weekend this year, I crave my Mom's typical "fancy meal" for the holidays. You see, Mom was a good cook and nothing said "springtime" like the meal we typically had on Easter Sunday -- baked ham, scalloped potatoes and maybe canned corn or baked beans. Often, that was followed by a cherry Jello-o poke cake topped with Dream Whip and Wilderness cherry pie filling. Nothing fancy, but hearty, delicious and filled with love.

Mom died 20 years ago this week. She was only 57 -- my age now.

There are all sorts of dishes Mom made when I was living at home. Her hamburger hotdish, hamburger and mushroom rice, Hungarian Ghoulash -- an oven stew that my dad's mom taught her to make when she first moved to International Falls, her wild rice hotdish and big Tupperware serving bowls of potato salad made with plenty of hardboiled eggs, sweet relish and Miracle Whip.

My mom grew up on the Illinois side of the St. Louis metro area in the blue collar town of Granite City. (I always thought it funny that Mom grew up in a Granite City and I moved to one.)

Every few summers, Mom and Dad would pack me and my three younger sisters in the station wagon and we'd drive to Granite City to visit my grandparents. We would stay a week or so, visit and make a few side trips before making the long drive back home.

But each morning while we visited, we'd wake to the smell of Grandma making biscuits in the oven and sausage gravy, eggs and bacon on the stove. Sometimes Grandpa would make his tasty brown gravy -- made from a dark brown roux made from bacon drippings, flour and milk. And there was always a box of doughnuts Grandpa would go pick-up from the local bake shop. Nothing said "summer vacation at Grandpa and Grandma's" like that breakfast.

My Grandma Ruby died last weekend. She was 101 years young. Her funeral is in Texas this weekend. And although I won't physically be there, I'll be in my own kitchen baking off some biscuits and stirring-up some of Grandma's sausage gravy.

And remembering.

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