Food = Love

Food.

We dream about it, talk about it, and even have television networks dedicated to it. Sweet, savory, or spicy, ethnic, vegan or fusion. Whatever our preference may be on a given day — we love it all!

But despite all the hours we spend consuming food, very few people actually enjoy cooking their own food.  Many will do whatever is necessary to avoid standing in front of the stove. It’s much easier to drive-thru, make a reservation, or order take-out.

Family Feasts

For just a moment though, let’s think about my favorite holiday: Thanksgiving! It’s just around the corner and I’m already looking forward to it. But beyond the festive table settings, and dishes laden with delicious food (and the football game we will sleep through afterward), it’s all about the people we love seated around that table.

Thanksgiving Memories, 2017

 

My mother-in-law raised five children, so she cooked meals for a small army. By the time I arrived on the scene, everyone was grown and flown. But family meals were still a regular occurrence. I can’t say whether cooking was a favorite chore in the Manausa household, but it was always a group effort. Everyone pitched in, and like my own dad, my father-in-law did his share of the cooking!

Several family meals became my favorites. “Chuck’s Everyday Waffles” were extra-delicious because they were full of bacon, with a little bit of bacon grease blended into the batter. Truth be told, I’d be in big trouble if I ate them every day. And his fish fries were wonderful family gatherings too, with his own fresh catch on the dinner menu. “Macaroni Mess” was really what we youngsters called American Chop Suey, only there was bacon in that too. Because, as the saying goes . . . bacon makes everything better.

Memorable Meals

Ketchup was always on the table in the Manausa household, particularly if my husband was coming to dinner. (True story: at my bridal shower, my future mother-in-law presented me with half a case of Heinz Ketchup and a can of K2R Spot Remover. It was an ominous sign.) I never really knew if the condiment was meant to enhance the flavor or hide it.

My in-laws have since passed away, but I fondly remember those meals that often ended with a long evening of conversation and cards. It was a time for jokes and laughter, but also a time for sharing stories and giving and receiving advice. I treasured every moment, especially in my early years as a newlywed.

🍴 🍴 🍴

Fast forward 37 years.

Cooking a meal takes planning and preparation, but I actually look forward to it now. I keep adding new skills, testing new gadgets, and trying new flavors. It’s a lot more fun now that it’s not  just another daily chore.

I enjoy cooking for myself when no one else is around, but most of all, I enjoy cooking for those I love. And thankfully, the ketchup usually stays in the pantry. ❤️

Morning Omelet with Bacon, Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Spinach

 

 

 

The Gift of Friendship

Random Reminders

We’ve all lost someone we love. Family. Friends. Pets. And along with each loss there will always be random reminders. Songs, sayings, or objects pop up now and then to call attention to their absence.

For me, today’s random reminder was a Chiquita Banana sticker.

Just before Christmas I lost a dear friend. He was a senior member of our church, and someone I admired for his ability to always make me smile.

Calvin came by the church every week to help prepare the sanctuary for Sunday worship. He always stopped by my office for a chat and a snack, and now I am missing my friend.

After Calvin passed away, I learned that at one time he collected Chiquita Banana stickers. He stuck them on the side of a cabinet door in his kitchen — dozens of them! It was a quirky memory that made me laugh. Now I will have a yet another reminder of that special friendship whenever I peel a banana.

Friends are Gifts from God

When I was asked to speak at Calvin’s memorial service, that was a first for me. Although it was an emotional day, I managed to share my thoughts and hold my emotions in check. I imagined Calvin sitting in the congregation, and that did the trick. He was an amazing storyteller, and I tried to recall some of his finest moments. This was my closing paragraph:

I am always amazed by the wonderful people that the Lord continues to place in my path here at this little church, and I am so grateful that Calvin was one of them. His friendship has been one of God’s many blessings in my life and I will treasure it always.

In addition to the friends I have made through my church, my life has been enriched by the friendships I have made from childhood until present day. Yes, I’ve lost touch with some of them, but I still carry their memories and stories in my heart. They are part of who I am. There are other friends who have become as close to me as my own family members. My life would feel incomplete without them.

And I have room for many more.

In Loving Memory
Calvin James McGehee, Jr.

August 3, 1936 — December 22, 2018