Thursday, August 28, 2008

Food for thought

Feeling a bit defeatist and worrying over the health status of our friend Dan, I came across a timely entry on another blog that John turned me on to several weeks back.

(See the blog here at

The author wrote about a question that her mom had posed to her, essentially asking what would be on a list of things to do if you suddenly learned that you only had weeks to live. Kate's response was poignant, focusing on expressions of affection and concern for her children and spouse. I agreed with the importance of her ideas, and in my response added an item that would be featured prominently on my own "list"... writing out a collection of family recipes for Una.

Food plays a central role in our lives, and an especially emotional one for me. I sometimes joke that for us, "food equals love", but it truly does. I show my love and respect for my husband and daughter by doing my best to create meals for us to enjoy together. Mom and Dad host us for dinner every Sunday, so no matter how hectic our lives get, we have a day to gather and enjoy one another. When someone is born, we cook. When someone dies, we cook. It's what we know how to do.

I will never be a "skinny minnie" - there is just too much to lose (figuratively and realistically) in denying myself the pleasure of cooking and sharing with abandon. If I love you, I'll cook for you. Doesn't everyone feel that way? How can you take care of someone if you don't feed them? I don't know, and hope I never know, what a house with a sparkling-clean and oft-empty kitchen feels like. It must be cold.

John and I planned a small "feed the patient" get-together for Dan and his family last weekend before he was scheduled to have serious surgery this week. Mom and I made some wonderful things, and I feel comforted knowing I did what I could to help warm the soul (and the belly) of a dear friend who is facing his own crisis, even if he was the only person who was able to share the meal with us. I remember my grandfather saying that a bit of extra weight was simply good insurance to carry around - everyone needs "reserves" in case they get sick. I'm sorry, Dan, that I didn't get more of a chance to help you put some meat on your bones - but I'm not going to waste another day feeling badly because I have more than enough in "reserve" - of food, laughter, caring and affection (and rear end!!) - to go around.


kitrd12 said...

Hi Sally, I loved reading your blog about food. I can really relate on one level - wanting/needing to cook for someone you love. Unfortunatley, my mom was not such a great cook. However, since I've been married, I try really hard make a nice meal for Marvin. I watch the Food Network to get ideas (Ina & Giada are current favorites). I'm so tired all the time, but I try because its a way of showing him how much I love him. I get sad when days pass by and I haven't made anything for him. He doesn't seem to mind though. I know appreciates it when I make something special just for him. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I so much enjoyed reading them. P.S. Do you have a good pasta recipe to pass on? Pasta goes over very well in our home :-)


Anonymous said...

Dude, that blog link looks totally familiar. (Thanks, by the way.)

We are both cooks, here. Not chefs, as that suggests something much fancier and less approachable. But cooks. We want to open a B&B someday. It makes us happy.

My whole family cooks, to varying degrees of skill but all with heart. My mother-in-law has the clean-but-unused kitchen. Somehow that's not a shock to me.