Although this is my cooking blog and I usually never post anything but recipes or fun food finds, I thought today I'd just talk about what food has meant to me this past week.
Two Sundays ago my grandmother passed away. It was unexpected, but not a surprise. She had been in ill-health, but the day before she died she spent 2 1/2 hours Christmas shopping at Walmart. She had been planning and living for the future and passed quietly; our family found great comfort in this.
As we were waiting for funeral arrangements and planning our travel back to the Midwest, I had two neighbors purchase snacks for our car trip. They knew we wouldn't be home so they used their creativity to bless us; it was one less thing to do. They purchased yummy treats that reminded us of their love each time we dipped into the stash of snacks. What a blessing!
Of course, when someone dies, food generally begins flowing into the deceased one's home to alleviate the family of that task and to bring comfort. There is comfort in eating when you are grieving. You certainly don't FEEL like eating, but being with family, sharing the outpouring love of neighbors and friends brings you comfort so you eat. Extended family and friends brought delicious food to my grandmother's home and we were grateful for the loving bounty.
There was a reception for everyone after the burial and again, the food was abundant. So many people cared in a very tangible way by providing and serving the food for our family. Our thanks could never be enough for their kindness. Much of that food returned to Grandma's house and we didn't even have to think about meal preparations for our large family.
On the last night there we used some of those leftovers, but we also pulled out some of Grandma's canned and fresh vegetables. My mom made a family-staple gravy from Grandma's bacon drippings to go with the fresh mashed potatoes and it was if we were sitting down to one of Grandma's feasts. When I sat down at the table and saw a meal that Grandma herself would have made, served in her own dishes it was overwhelmingly sad. I just wished she could have been there with us.
The very last notecard I received from my Grandma, which is still sitting in my mail slot, included two family recipes written in her own handwriting on 3x5 cards. She will never know how much I will cherish those index cards and recipes.
So, when you think about your food preparations this coming holiday season, please, just take the time to enjoy the traditions, the people and the gifts of food. So often we share love by feeding someone; I pray that you'll be blessed by both the bounty you receive and the bounty you share.
One Pan Chicken Enchilada Skillet
2 days ago