My mother, Frances Junod, was not just a mother, not just a mom. She was a dame. She was a broad. She was a beauty from Brooklyn who wore fantastic hats, when they were in style, and furs, even when they were not. She went through her entire life as a Harlowesque platinum blonde, and I never knew the real color of her hair. She liked go to the track, and she liked to go out to restaurants. She did not like to cook. That she did it anyway—that she had no choice—owed itself to generational expectations, and to the fact that if my mother was a doll, in the Runyonesque sense of the word, my father was a guy, a pinky-ringed sharpie who spent many nights going to the New York City restaurants my mother longed to frequent, but who, on nights when he came home, loudly expected food on the table.