The Gift of Friendship

By James Oseland

Published on October 5, 2010

My mother had just passed away. I was in the Bay Area to close up her apartment, and her 85-year-old best friend, Betty Badgett, invited me over for lunch. I've always loved Betty's cooking: a country girl who moved to California from Oklahoma in the late 1940s, she's always seemed to reconnect with her roots by preparing the kind of good old-fashioned food she grew up with, incorporating fresh vegetables and herbs from the gardens that surround her house. When I arrived for lunch, there was roast beef, mashed potatoes, stewed lima beans with fresh sage, a salad of iceberg lettuce, warm biscuits, and lots of good butter. For dessert, a homemade blackberry pie. There was a pitcher of ice water filled with lemon slices; the lemons had come from the decades-old Meyer lemon tree in Betty's backyard. I probably ate three times as much food as I should have, but how could I not? That delicious lunch was the perfect way to honor my mom, who would have loved everything about it.

See all of the 25 Greatest Meals Ever

Continue to Next Story

Want more SAVEUR?

Get our favorite recipes, stories, and more delivered to your inbox.