This is my friend, Chef Louise Mellor. She is a regular contributor to this website; her photography and vintage-inspired recipe posts have their own devoted following. I like to think of her as my food photography soul sister. She is able to capture my recipes in a way that nobody else can. We started as blogging buddies, and our friendship blossomed over our shared love of the vintage lifestyle. The picture above is from a day we shared at the Pasadena Rose Bowl Flea Market. We both adore old decorative utensils– slightly tarnished, imperfect, every piece with a story behind it. In so many ways, Louise “gets me.”
Louise is battling cancer. It’s been a long fight for her. For a while we thought the illness was gone for good, but it came back. Both privately and online, she has shared her challenge openly and honestly. In the face of a painful reality, she has given us all a lesson in grace.
Louise is a wife, a mother, a chef, and one of the kindest souls I know. She is a spiritually devout Christian who lives her life with love and purpose. Our friendship is only a few years old, but I feel like I have known her much longer than that.
I wrote a letter to Louise a few weeks ago. Louise encouraged me to share the letter publicly, so I am doing that here on my blog where our friendship began.
If you would like to send a thought to Louise, please feel free to leave a comment on this post. I know she would love to hear from our community. She has put a lot of time and effort into making my website a special corner of the web, and I am grateful for her friendship.
Thinking about you tonight. The post you wrote about water resonates with me. I am called to the water often, feeling my spirit drawn there, especially in difficult times. We have that in common, like so many other things.
When I was a young girl, my stepfather’s stepmother bought me the book “Anne of Green Gables.” For a few years it sat on my bookshelf gathering dust. I was a book nerd, but that particular story just seemed too “old,” too “classic,” too far from the realm of my existence to understand or enjoy. How could the tale of a red-haired orphan girl from the early 1900’s have a thing to do with me? Then one day, when I had read through everything else in my collection, I begrudgingly picked up “Anne” and started to read. It was an important day in my life, a turning point in which I understood that the past was fully connected to my present. This character—this little girl—shared so many of my dreams. Though she lived in the Edwardian era, she could have been my soul sister. As the character of Anne felt when she met her best friend Diana, these characters were my “kindred spirits,” my “bosom friends.”
Louise, when I met you I knew almost immediately that you are a rare and beautiful “kindred spirit”- somebody who appreciates the past, who reveres it and celebrates it. You feel the energy of our shared history in every recipe, every object, every craft. You see the poetic beauty in a vintage utensil or a pair of cat-eye glasses. Behind the camera, you capture the spirit of the food. Your pictures tell a story, grasping a moment in time, fleeting energy made permanent. You put your heart into it. I see it in all of the beautiful photos you take for me. You see the details that others skip over. You recognize beauty in the ordinary.
Do you know I always aspire to make my food photography “as good as Louise”? I’m not there yet, but I keep trying! Many times when we have worked together, you have taken a moment to teach me something new—sharing some little nugget of knowledge that I can carry with me. You have always been so encouraging. I remember those moments often while working, and I am grateful for them.
I am continually swept up in the past and all it means to our present. At the same time, I feel that time is just an illusion— something to give our souls structure, to help us better grasp the meaning of our life experience. The energy of God is watching over us, guiding our journey. When times are hard, I do my best to place my trust in that energy. I know you do too, and I know it is why you are called to the water now.
Kindred spirit, my heart is with you and your family!
Love and Light,