Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Food and Love

Yesterday I watched the video Johnny's new bride's sister made of them preparing for their wedding in Taiwan. On Friday night I skyped their wedding which was taking place on Saturday morning. I was seeing into the future. I was not there to share food at that moment, however food from Johnny's adventurous life was always part of our ritual conversations on the meaning of life, learning to think for oneself and taking responsibility for one's actions.

After a bout with juvenile court we'd come home to leftover beans and rice and a discussion of consequences. On the way to a soccer tournament he'd dig into a cooler of cheese and grapes, granola bars, ham sandwiches and chips. We would talk about winning and losing. After a class five river rafting trip that he took me on we ate apples and cheese on a rock out cropping, me thankful to be alive, Johnny, fearless and filled with satisfaction. The discussion turned to the majesty of nature. Whatever he took on, he played full out.

Today he follows his love of God around the world in order to witness to others the power that love can have in one's life. The God he sought kayaking over 40 foot waterfalls now fills his heart. The foods we share take place in emails asking for a specific recipe for apple crisp or a healing soup.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Comfort Food

TV dinner. 1968. Pregnant with Danielle, my first child. Villa Park, Illinois. Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce, to be exact. My husband walked across the street to buy them, on-demand, whenever I needed one during those first three months. Convenience stores were just coming on strong. 

Comfort food wasn't a term then, something that I would seek out from my past that would comfort me in the present. Sliced bananas, sprinkled with sugar and milk poured over or the forever nightly popcorn ritual. 

Today, hardly any of the foods from my past comfort me. My diet has so radically changed. I can barely eat out. I only want the home cooked meal's Larry and I prepare.  Last night he made a tomato sauce and served it over spaghetti squash. I invented a new recipe for garlic green beans, blanching them first before roasting them on a cookie sheet with chopped garlic and olive oil. Our salad was mixed greens with a garlic, olive oil and lemon dressing. I have tried many times to churn up past comfort from my mother's spaghetti and meatball recipe she learned from Italian friends when we lived on Tachikawa Air Force Base in Japan. I can duplicate it very well and serve it with canned green beans and head lettuce salad with bottled French dressing like she did. It's just not as good as what Larry and I made last night. The colors are the same, the red and green, and the texture.  

The comfort that is carried over, however, is the comfort of homemade and eating at home, at a pleasantly set table. Growing up, we never ate out. Really.  I do not have a single memory of eating in a restaurant. Even road trip meals were served on picnic tables at rest stops. The comfort I seek is not in the finished dish, it is in the experience of creation.