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Amy Rosen takes the Edible Nonfiction Challenge

The National Post food columnist tugs at our heartstrings with her celebrity entry, "The Yellow Fluff that Binds."

The Yellow Fluff that Binds
by Amy Rosen
My Bubi Fran's food was legendary, full of schmaltz and thus divine: Her sweet kugel with caramelized edges, her matzo balls as fluffy as freshly fallen snow, her tender chicken and slickly roasted potatoes -- Oy!

As we ate and talked and spilled and laughed, she circled the table, wearing one of her elegant quilted silk dressing gowns and fancy heeled slippers, refilling our plates whether we wanted more or not.

As Bubi got older she cooked fewer dishes, yet the matzo ball soup stayed, as did her lemon pineapple fluff. Though I am not a fan of yellow fluff, all of the men in the family loved it so it became her signature dessert. (Majority rules.)

As Bubi's strength began to wane she started ordering in Chinese food rather than cooking (it really is true what they say about Jews and Chinese food), yet seemed as proud of the delivery order as if she had made the meal herself: Still circling the table like an octogenarian track star in an emerald green muumuu, making sure we were all eating more than our fill of vegetable fried rice and broccoli beef. 

As Bubi's memory began to fade she taught her live-in caregiver how to make matzo balls and the yellow fluff, and we started bringing the Chinese food over. 

And as we gathered around Bubi's familiar dining room table for one last time during her shiva, I realized it wasn't her amazing kugel or the sweet and sour chicken balls that had made her the matriarch of my Friday night memories. 

It was her simple act of constantly circling the table, forming an invisible food-filled hug around the family she loved. It's the kind of embrace that never leaves you. Even if you do happen to hate lemon pineapple fluff. 

Amy Rosen is a food columnist for the National Post and the food editor at Canadian House & Home. She is a frequent contributor to enRoute and was nominated for a James Beard Award for her Canada's Best New Restaurants feature in 2002. Her first novel, Indigestion, will be out soon.  

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