SAN ANTONIO – Angela Perez’s favorite childhood memories are in the kitchen with her mother, Karla Scotty.
A recipe for cookies, bread, sauces, spaghetti and more were handwritten by Scotty and stored in a peach tin box.
“There are actually a few things I remember when I dropped stuff on the cards that are in here and wiped them off," Perez said. “She was a great cook. She had an infectious laugh. Everybody loved her."
Scotty was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease before the age of 60, but even after her diagnosis, food remained the center of the family.
“My mom baked her own bread, baked cookies, she baked cakes,” Perez said. “We had hot meals every day. We had breakfast every day.”
Eventually, things in the kitchen slowed down and increasingly got dangerous as the Alzheimer’s attacked Scotty’s muscle memory.
“She would leave the burners on or burn herself, " Perez said. “It just became not safe.”
Scotty lived with Alzheimer’s for 11 years and eventually lost the ability to cough and swallow. Soon after her death, Perez held on to the peach tin box.
She carefully picked some of her mother’s favorite recipes that Alzheimer’s stole. A recipe book now commemorates Scotty.
“Karla’s Cookery. This book is a tribute to my mom,” Perez said. “Every time I look at these cards, and I see them stained with vanilla and grease and food, I laugh.”
It’s a form of healing Perez recommends to caregivers and family members of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
“Live in their moment, not your moment. Love them as they are in that moment," Perez said.
For more information on Alzheimer’s disease, visit the website for the San Antonio and South Texas Alzheimer’s Association.