Udo. Friend. Confident. Comrade in arms from university days. One of those rare people with whom you feel comfortable, forever, no matter what. I learned a few days ago that Udo died. Alone. His wife happened to be away on a trip. She had to rush home knowing that ‘home’ had changed forever.
I can’t write about him. Yet. Because I’m afraid of delving too deeply into these lives lost. It is turning me into a jittery marshmallow, sleepless, restless, unfocused. I wake up very early, tossing und turning, throwing off my blanket, snuggling under my blanket, worrying myself crazy. What if he, the one sleeping next to me, dies on me, too? Every day for the past week, I paid extra attention to the NYTimes obituaries. How old were they? What killed them? As if one could predict or anticipate death! But fear of death, the death of someone you love paralyzes. And I have a hard time to get out from under this black cloud defining our lives at present. As real as these feelings are, they’re also melodramatic and certainly not doing anyone any good.
So, let’s cook. Food helps, doesn’t it? Udo, my late friend and Charles, my late brother both liked to cook, to eat, to experiment, to enjoy to the fullest. For the first time in ages, I made Ragù, Sugo, Spaghetti Sauce – whatever you want to call it – with a lot of sauteed vegetables and a handful of ground beef.
Served with a crunchy green salad decorated with grilled peppers and tomatoes, the ragù enhanced with a dollop of crème fraîche and grated cheese, it turned out pretty tasty.
We opened a bottle of wine we brought back from Spain earlier this year. A Ribera del Duero Reserva 2011.
A bottle, I believe, Udo would have appreciated. He liked the tempranillo grape aged ‘Crianza’, which I perceive as a little harsh, preferring the ‘Reserva’. We would have enjoyed tremendously to discuss the relative merits and faults of the different aging styles. Here’s to you, my friend! Long shall you live in my heart.