I gave up on the writing challenge I was following as it wasn't daily writing prompts. It ended up being more about developing the habit of writing. What to do? Well come up with my own of course.
Today I decided to use food as my inspiration - the reason below. Want to join me? Then take a moment and think on the topic of food and see what comes up for you. Could be a family tradition around a holiday meal, a favourite eating experience, your relationship with food either good or bad, and the list goes on.
And if you do write something, share the link to your article in the comments so I can read it as well.
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I recently read a book that truly brought home the idea of what sharing food means home to me. I'll be doing a book review on it this week, so don't want to spoil the surprise. But the gist is that as a teenager, the author had the ability to eat taken away. In her memoir, she shares how this experience separated her from others.
WOW! The more I thought about this, the more I realized how important sharing food was in my life. Whether a full meal get-together, a simple lunch, popcorn shared while watching a movie, or just chatting over dessert and coffee, food is a big part of how I like to spend time with my friends and family.
Growing up, we had little money. My relatives had little money. Holidays and vacations were often spent visiting each other and creating the meals always a communal process. The women in particular came together in the kitchen, sharing laughter and conversation as each took on a part of the preparation process. Everyone had a place, a job, an assigned dish to bring, a task to fulfill, and that made you feel important and a part of a bigger whole.
I didn't realize how ingrained this was in my memories until I married a Canadian and moved to a new country. I assumed I would experience the same coming together here, but that was not to be. He only had 2 brothers and neither married. His mum and step-dad lived 2 hours away and were snowbirds heading south over the winter. His dad was also 2 hours away and quite old.
As I took over the family dinners for holidays and birthdays, I found myself in the kitchen working alone up to 11 times a year, listening from afar as the others bonded in the living room. It didn't create a sense of being a part. It was actually lonely.
Glen and I had a pretty tight budget when the kids were small. I dreamt of meeting people at restaurants where the food just came and there were no dishes to do. I thought this would create that feeling I was missing so desperately. But as things loosened up financially and we headed out more often, I began to realize it was only fun if we headed to an event after. Overall something was missing. There wasn't the intimacy you found when gathered in someone's home.. In terms of bonding with friends, I was surprised to discover I honestly preferred to have people into my home.
I wish I could say I now manage to have people over weekly, but that just doesn't seem to happen. However, I make an honest effort on a regular basis to have friends in - whether just one person or a bigger group. Like a maestro, I work to create that warm experience I grew up with.
Planning the meal is a gift I offer to set the tone. I try to share at least one new dish I think they will find interesting and announce what it is as I place it on the table. The menu is designed in a way that most prep can be done ahead of time so my focus stays mostly on spending time with others instead of being separate in the kitchen.
Sharing a little drink and a little food seems to quickly bring us together whether just a few people or a big group. Moods lift, conversation start to flow and laughter definitely ensues. Stories are shared, catching us all up on what everyone has been doing. New memories are created. We all find ourselves by the end feeling that little bit more connected to each other and definitely in a more relaxed place.
My next get together is slated for Sunday and I can't wait. The menu is still influx, but I should have it nailed by tomorrow. Do you have a favourite memory around family, friends and food? I'd love to hear it! Share it in the comments or write your own article and share the link.