When Sharon Banister died two weeks ago, I lost not only my mother-in-law but my next-door neighbor and a dear friend.

Steve and I are finding solace in living with our many years’ memories of her and with her wonderful paintings that adorn many of our walls and the art that she created for the labels of our line of San Joaquin Valley teas. And as is so often the case with me, my reveries turn to shared meals, memories of particular dishes, and the communion of food enjoyed with family and friends, with Sharon who was both to me.

I first became acquainted with Sharon when she and Bill (Steve’s father) were enjoying the first the bloom of their romance at my family’s Imperial Dynasty restaurant dining on broiled shrimp Chablis and rack of lamb. Many years later I watched Sharon and Bruce begin their dance in our old Art Works Café lunching on chicken salad and quiche.

Arianne Wing is the co-author of “Noodles Through Escargots,” and co-operator of the L.T. Sue Tea Room and Emporium, benefiting the restoration and preservation of China Alley. She may be reached at ariannewing@gmail.com

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