Tips on Peeling Back the Layers


onion flowers

It was mid-March 2011 when I last spent time with William. Who knew it would be my last real conversation and final hug good-bye? And so it begins this time of year when I feel like I can’t catch my breath. It’s an uncontrollable anxiety that just won’t go away. Sleep escapes me often waking in the middle of the night with tears in my eyes. “Just breathe” is my mantra. This, too, shall pass, but when? It’s been 7 years. How many more layers are there to this grief thing?


Truth is that I am just a little frustrated with myself. Why does working through grief take so long to resolve? I know the answer. There is no end to it, but I want there to be. It’s difficult wanting something one knows can never be achieved. Acceptance will come. Just breathe.


I want to reach in and hold your hand


Need a food analogy? Recently, I saw a lovely oil painting of an onion. Quite detailed in shades of black and brown I wanted to reach in and peel away some of its dried, fragile outer skin. In its darkness, I knew peeling back the layers would bring tears, but also that aromatic freshness that makes cooking with onions so delicious, so delightful and well, healing. It’s the same with every onion. It’s never going to be different, but there are ways to deal with it. How do YOU do it?


A small tabletop fan blows the sulfuric onion fumes away from you…no more tears

There are lots of tips on how to slice an onion without crying. Chilling it and not cutting through the root don’t work for me. Wearing glasses offer zero protection from the noxious fumes, but blowing the fumes away from my cutting board with a small tabletop fan works like a charm. Try it. No more tears. You are welcome.


Now, if onion is to be eaten raw in a recipe like a salsa I suggest soaking chopped onion in cold water to rinse away some of the pungent juice for a milder flavor.


Grief is like the biggest most pungent onion in the garden. Peeling back each layer brings on tears. It’s painful, but healing. It’s never going to be different, but there are ways to deal with it. How do you get through your day?


My son was killed on April 16th. His birthday is April 22. It’s a rough week for a lot of people. I want to dedicate this blog post to my friends Carol & Bev. They  are how I feel God’s presence. They hold me up when I can’t hold myself. They struggle along with me, so they jump in the car and make the long trip. They bring food and wine and laughter. They let me be me and it is such a relief. May you all have a Carol & Bev in your life. ❤


And a special shout-out to Patrice, Debbie, Wendy and Irene. Friends who remember and continue to celebrate him through me.

If you care to leave a comment today make it a happy thought, a joke or a fun William story….or even your favorite cooking with onion tips.

thank you


Blogiversary #2 & A Winner

Oh how I miss my garden helper

Oh how I miss my garden helper

Not quite sure how I got through the very first blog post let alone two years worth, but here I am still going strong. Yup, strong. It is what one must be to get through a parent’s worse nightmare, but no sad chat today. Today, as I ease into another season, I just want to share a few of my fave fall season photos of William (like that sweet one above), a most requested Naan recipe (thank you readers)  from my King Arthur Flour baking class and announce the winner of my blogiversary give away.

So here goes:

Tyler and William so many autumns ago

Tyler and William so many autumns ago preparing for deployment

And the same two boys, so many years later

Will and Tyler hat & bib fashion show

Will and Tyler hat & bib fashion show…hand-made gifts for their deployments

My hunter boy…oh, yes, he cleaned it, I cooked it and he ate it

IMG_2321And now the delicious Naan recipe


Thank you all for all the love and support of Good Grief Cook these past 2 years. You are the best.


And the lucky winner is: Haley McBride. Haley please private message me with your address and I will get your autographed book to you ASAP. From my heart to yours please enjoy all the beautiful music and inspired and spirited recipes.

my recipes in the book