(A quick note - I'm still here! The holidays took me away from the blogosphere for a bit, but I'm back now.)
Lately I've been thinking about food. It's not surprising, given the holidays and how much our traditions revolve around food (Thanksgiving dinner, making candy for Christmas, that sort of thing), but just cooking with my husband made me think of the ways my parents worked to include me in the making of the family meals.
There were two big things that my parents made that were considered "their things" - Dad's pizza, and Mom's "full-blown Mexican". The pizza was one of the first things I learned how to make, mostly because I kept bothering my father, asking if it was ready yet. That was how I got involved in a lot of cooking, actually, was by being annoying.
Mom's food was essentially her version of the food she learned from her mother - taco meat, Spanish rice, flour tortillas, and various other foods depending on how big the meal was going to be. One of my clearest memories was being given the huge responsibility of seasoning the taco meat on my own, unsupervised. It was one of the earliest moments of pride that I can remember, when Mom tasted the meat and told me I had seasoned it perfectly.
It's the little things that make a life, which is something to remember when creating characters and when dealing with other people in general. Everyone has those memories that don't seem to mean much outside of their own heads, but are incredibly precious to them.