I was fortunate to have grown up within walking distance from all four of my grandparents. While we visited all of them regularly, my paternal grandmother, a”h, provided a special impetus for us to visit. She was an awesome cook. She lived on the 2nd Floor of an apartment building, and we could tell what she was making as soon as we entered the lobby. It was the best-smelling apartment building in the world. Frying in 2 inches of oil can do that.
At some point around my Bar Mitzvah, I discovered that my father would go visit here every Friday so that he could ‘sample’ the food she had cooked for Shabbat. I made it my habit to visit as well. Soon enough, my younger siblings caught on as well, and at that point the portions began to get smaller.
My maternal grandmother, a”h, once tried to use Bubby’s recipes, perhaps in the hopes that she’d be assured of a weekly visit. I think that the greasiness of it violated her sensibilities, and that it was so time-consuming that it really had to be a labor of love.
I think that Bubby was a bit nervous that we were coming for the food and not to visit her. Sure, we’d talk to her, hang out with her, etc., but it was always Friday afternoon when we knew that she’d be cooking for Shabbat. Therefore, as difficult as it was, be made sure not to miss our weekly visits on Erev Shabbat Chazon, the one Friday that we’d be unable to sample the food (at least not the main courses). The apartment smelled as tantalizing as ever, mocking our dairy doldrums. But it was that Friday, every year, that reassured Bubby, a”h, that we were there primarily for her, and that the food was simply a really, really good incentive.