In the South, when someone is born or someone dies, if you are celebrating a good burp or saddened by the loss of your favorite team, the elixir is … food.
The preparing of food is a gift of love. It is an extension of comfort, a holding of a hand, and an embrace of fellowship and hospitality.
Love comes in the form of a casserole made up of something noodle-ee, rice-ee, cheesy … and covered in a crumb topping.
There is something about the giving of food that nourishes more than the body. The thought that goes with the kindness of the act, fills the soul.
We have some good eaters in my Phase 5 section of the hood. I am sure that there are more good eaters in the bigger hood, but I don’t know them, as I tend to play in a small circle.
Growing up in Norwood, Ohio, I don’t recall much exchanging of the food. Once in a purple moon, a man who worked for my father, would give us fresh tomatoes from his garden. Other than that, if you wanted to taste a variety of other food, you had to go to a church dinner. And I don’t remember going to many of those.
I love to make food for people. It gives me pleasure. If I could feed the world, I would be thrilled. What better is there to heal hearts and minds, than sharing food?
People, in this busy time that is full of technology-driven angst, schedules and commutes that deplete energies, have touchstones … little things that are like “bases” when you are playing tag. A moment to stop and catch your breath and provide you with the sense that, thank God, there is something more to my existence, than this master race.
Often, it is food, the thought of something tasty, that gets us through. And when that food is prepared for you by someone who cares for you, it is a balm that lifts the spirits.
One of the most fun things I do is to make things and then deliver servings to neighbors. Yes, I am bad for the waistline. Sorry, Charlie. But an occasional apple fritter, chocolate mousse, container of Chex Mix or a slice of chocolate cake, won’t doom a person.
I don’t know how to find a cure for cancer … if I did know, I would have taken a dose, myself. Egads, that sounds weird to say. Yep, I’ve got cancer. It makes my face scrunch. (Yep, I threw in the cancer-card)
If I could pay off everyone’s mortgage in my hood, (including ours), I would.
But I can’t.
What I can share is my gratitude, feelings of camaraderie and fondness for those around me, by feeding them.
So, today, I am cooking a fabulous ham, macaroni and cheese and baked beans. Yesterday, I made a Texas sheet-cake. It is going to a wonderful neighbor. It is my way of saying, I am sorry for your loss.
That is how the world should work.