Friday, September 4, 2009

Does the Food Bring Them Home?

Since time immemorial, mothers have welcomed a visit from their grown children. I was only 9 years old, but I remember my mother’s excitement when her two eldest came home to Michigan for Christmas. It was during the depression and we had moved from Illinois and left them both behind. Each were graduated from college, but both worked at the Wurlitzer Piano Factory. (When you had a job, then, you kept it and were glad to have one.)

It was the first time our family had broken up and she missed them deeply. She had baked and prepared for their coming for many weeks. All of their favorite dishes: Swedish Limpa bread, Swedish Coffee Bread, Peppeeracawker ( I can’t spell Swedish) a kind of ginger cookie, and Spritz, a butter cookie. Even the good old fruit cake.

Why is it that when we moms have grown children coming to visit, the first thing we do is get their favorite foods ready to go the minute they get there? I know I do. My eldest son is visiting and I was thinking about it as I made his favorite dinner—good ole roast beef and mashed potatoes and gravy and a lemon meringue pie. I smiled as I remembered an incident that happened not too long ago.

My daughter had been home for a few weeks one summer and my eldest son flew in to visit also. He and I were in the kitchen making my his favorite lemon pie when my daughter walked in, saw what I was doing and said, “Oh, SURE!"

It was such a delightful déjà vu moment, her reaching back to a sibling rivalry and especially funny after I showed her that her favorite butterscotch pie was already in the oven. And these “kids” were in their 40’s!

So is food our foremost way of showing how much we love them and how much we miss them?

But my biggest question is this? Do they come home and are glad just to see us and be with us , or do they come to gather up some of their childhood by eating their favorite foods?


Anita said...

Hi Bernie.
I'm 51, and yes, when I go home (mom and dad's) to visit, I get sent back to my home with all sorts of leftovers and goodies. I guess I'll do the same when my children come to visit. Right now, they're still here - since they are only 13, 11, and 9. Yes, my last one was born when I was 42! You're a good mom! Keep blogging. Blessings.

Wander to the Wayside said...

I can't answer this from any memory, because I didn't have a mother and no one who made my favorite meal when I visited. But I can make a guess, and that would be because most families make rituals out of many meals, with a special dish or a whole meal theme (i.e. roast, potatoes,gravy, biscuits, green beans, jello salad, peach cobbler), like xmas/xmas eve/easter/thanksgiving. Or even just a Sunday meal where everyone eats together. So I think we associate those ritual meals, be it meat loaf or a lemon pie, with the rituals of family/love/kinship. I know when my daughter and her family come over, even though they don't have favorites, I always try to make it a special and comfortable experience for them.

Speaking of the Depression, Bernie, maybe you could do a post on your remembrances of the depression (like holding on to those jobs!), like cheap meals, cost cutting/money saving tips, etc.? I know you were young, but I'm sure you have very clear memories what your parents said and did. If ever there was a time that we could use the sage advice of your generation, it would be now!

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

I'm guilty! I always make all their favorites because they are always telling me how they miss my cooking! :)

Wanda said...

I think it's a little bit of both. But the older we get the better we cook, maybe that keeps them coming!

Bernie said...

Hi Bernie, it's called comfort food because it makes us feel better just to be with our family enjoying memories while making new ones.
So glad to read your post, I love hearing from and about you.....:-) Hugs

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I come home for the food. See you tomorrow night, Mom.

boots said...

ummm loving just looking at this pie! I do believe it will be a blessing for me to get to follow you! This land of blog IS amazing and I have "met" some very wonderfully talented, friendly folks here...if you like to just look at pictures of simple, beautiful art work check out Amazing photos!

thanks for reminding me life is good~

Tians.sis said...

Hello Bernie,I found you from your daughter,and can see I will enjoy following. I was raised in Michigan,all tho not during the depression,I'm 59.I think(I hope)kids come home for both reasons because as a mother I sure enjoy mine coming home. I can no longer go to my Mama's,she has been gone a long time,but one thing is for sure,if I could,I would crawl. Looking forward to reading your blog. Visit me sometime.

Tians.sis said...

UPDATE!I have been catching up on your blog and just wanted to say,you inspire me. Thank You.

Deb Shucka said...

I'm here from Julie's blog, and have been enjoying your posts. I cook family favorites whenever my brothers come to visit, and we're all well beyond middle age. I love that you made each of your kids their own pie. What a mom. :-)

♥ Braja said...

Hey, Bernie...first time visiting and I loved this post. I'm an Aussie woman living in, the culture is very strongly directed towards what you wrote of, cooking for family. The scriptures and philosophies of India all agree in their advice and direction, that cooking is a science---the person who cooks transfers their consciousness, or the thoughts that direct their mind, into the things being cooked. That's why when we cook with love, it's so delicious :)


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