A few weeks ago, an acquaintance of mine named Michael sent me a message asking if we could get together and cook.
He wrote, “One of my favorite ways to get to know someone is to learn how to cook something.”
It was an unexpected and lovely invitation to connect.
We discussed what we could make and decided on vegan Filipino food. I thought maybe we could try Astig Vegan’s recipe for kale and jackfruit adobo, since that combines three of my favorite things to eat in one dish.
Michael told me he would get back to me with some possible dates. While I waited to hear from him again, I made the kale and jackfruit adobo to test drive it.
I looked forward to cooking with Michael and getting to know him better. I thought of ways we could tweak the adobo recipe. I wondered what he could teach me about food and what we might learn together.
Today I heard from a mutual friend that Michael had died.
I don’t know the details of Michael’s passing. I do know that he was very young—which makes his death even more shocking. And from the stories and remembrances that family and friends posted on his Facebook wall, I now know that he was well-loved. My heart goes out to them, and I am so very sorry for their loss.
Though I only knew him briefly, Michael reminded me that cooking and eating is always better with company. Rest in peace, Michael. And thanks.