*The following blog post is from Lindsey Wright of Dear Wilderness: Exploring Beauty, Wellness, and Balance. Follow her blog here.
Food and family. The two are more intrinsically linked than we may think. You grow up watching your mom make a secret family recipe. A certain crazy pizza topping makes you think of your equally crazy dad. You used to make fun of him for that topping, but now you secretly kind of love it, because it links you to him while you’re away at college. Most families have some kind of food traditions, whether its having an all day bake-a-thon, ordering Chinese every single Friday night, or always serving that one weird appetizer at get-togethers (despite the fact that no one but your great-aunt eats it).
Because our families are the ones who feed us, one can’t help but recall the other. I have my own food memories of my family. I think of how every Sunday morning in the winters, we’d come home from church and I’d get to pick which can of soup I wanted (usually a chunky, creamy potato soup), and my dad would eat his lunch on the floor of the living room so he could watch the game. I think of all our family gatherings, and how some kind of cheese or chip dip was an absolute necessity (and I always prayed shrimp cocktail was not going to be there).
But there is more to the connection between food and family than just what is served. There is something about sharing food with another person that connects you. Sitting at the dinner table, or on the kitchen counter after school, something happens. You share more than the food, you share yourself. Jokes, stories, tears, news, fears, drudgery- it all gets laid out at the table. Some kind of strange bond happens when you share these kinds of intimate moments. Laughter, details, arguments, when passed between people, become strong cords that tie all participating members together.
The kitchen, its table, and its participants all work together to create a whole- a whole memory, whole emotions. While we may not remember the exact food that was served, we will never forget what we forged as we passed the plates between us.