Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Food and Love

This evening's dinner: Compliments about the food flowing from the mouths of babes; happy faces stuffed with parmesan, rigatoni noodles, sausage, peas, and garlic bread. We ate, talked, and enjoyed the food and each other. There was only one pea-hockey outbreak which was quickly reigned in. We ended with a small celebration of banana splits which were half eaten—no room for all the pasta that had been devoured.

I was moments from popping a frozen pizza in the oven when we got home at dinner time, hungry from an afternoon at the wading pool with friends. I hadn't brought any snacks, barely making it out the door between wily kids and my darkening mood. I kept thinking: Just get to the park and our spirits will all brighten. No time to pack pita chips! Go!

As I drove home a minivan packed with hungry monkeys, I dedicated myself to a homemade meal and a banana or apple snack while we waited. We made it through the 30 min prep-time, and the meal was better than any frozen pizza could have ever delivered.

Food is powerful.

I went to visit my 95-year-old grandpa last week. I'd seen him the week before as well, and noted that instead of suggesting food from the gas station restaurant that we often have (it's a tiny town and there aren't many options), he wanted a simple meal of noodles and jar pasta sauce. Not exactly homemade, but a step closer than the little restaurant.

So, when I went to visit him this past week, I threw together my grandmother's simple goulash recipe to bring along. At one point there were 8 of us hanging out on his east porch* with bowls of goulash and sleeves of saltines.

Making a meal for him was special for me. It was a simple thing to do, something I've seen my mom do many times for him. It made me really happy to know that I had done something for him, and that we all shared that simple meal together.

Food is memory.

*Note that ordinal points are always called out by my grandpa. It took me all of my childhood and part of my adult life to finally figure out which was the east bedroom upstairs.

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