When I was a kid, my family ate together around our big, oval kitchen table for what seemed like hours. Sure, there were plenty of days when my squirmy six-year-old self wanted to do anything but sit around that table. Yet, it was during that family ritual that we laughed, made jokes, cried, prayed, and talked together. Those meals with family and friends, even the most ordinary, weeknight dinners comprised of leftovers or takeout, remain some of my most precious memories.
And then I think about the times when we had family health issues or when I had my twins. Our refrigerator was chock-full of pulled pork, baked pasta, and chicken casseroles. We’ve gotten to know our neighbors through invitations to enjoy s’mores and beer. We’ve marked both times of celebration and times of grief with food. It’s been a means of sustenance and physical nourishment, but also a way to exercise creativity, express gratitude, and cultivate relationships.
Are there recipes that have been handed down to you from parents or grandparents that remind you of a special memory? Is there someone you’d like to bake for to thank them for their kindness? Can you bring friends or family (maybe even your kids) into the kitchen to cook with you? Are there meals that remind you of how thankful you are to simply put food on the table? Let's get messy in the kitchen and allow that creative exercise to nourish your body and soul.
Some of my favorite recipes are scribbled on note cards or written in cookbooks splattered with grease and cake batter. Adjustments and variations have been carefully and thoughtfully squeezed into the margins. They’re the recipes passed between families – from generation to generation, from parent to child.
What are a couple recipes you cherish? Ones passed down to you, or ones that you want to pass down to your children? Write down one or two on recipe cards you can keep for yourself, or share with friends or family.