Food That Feeds The Soul

So Sarah had surgery today. I drove down to take her to surgery and at least get to be with her one day after before having to zoom off for other family obligations. In preparing for her surgery, I had the urge to make her several meals that could be frozen and a lot of snack treats. The helper in me wanted to do everything possible to take care of my friend. But I can tell you in the end, my helper side fatigued and she might get a single snack treat vs. meals for a week. I often have glorious ideas, but then I simply get tired. So if you have a need for a meal, I am not always your gal. I will think often about you and the meal that I would love to make for you but in the end, you will have to settle on my well wishes 😉 

Food plays such a pivotal role in our lives under many circumstances that cover a whole host of emotions. I have been on the receiving end of a meal as well as on the giving end of taking a meal. The food always tastes delicious, most of the time, but the simple conversation around the circumstance, the kind gesture, the smiles, a prayer, and a hug are what are remembered most. I want to share some of my memories with you, but take a few minutes for yourself and go down memory lane to find those memories of when food feeds the soul.

One of my earliest memories of food for the soul is unique to each of my grandmothers. My dad’s mom had a round circular table with a round bench built into the wall at their house. I can remember the setting of the room, the smell of coffee in her kitchen, and the apple plates that she used to serve us on. We visited often around the holidays which meant it was citrus fruit time and she always had grapefruit. She took the time to meticulously cut the grapefruit. We would scoot around the bench with excitement and the most memorable moment was sprinkling sugar on top of the grapefruit. We would use her actual silver spoons to eat the grapefruit which felt elegant. Who knew eating grapefruit at my grandmother’s house would make such an impression on me. Now that I know what it takes to cut a grapefruit, I love how much time and effort she put into serving us and adding her Grand Betty touch with the sugar and silverware. 

The next memory is at my mom’s childhood home. My grandmother, Grandmama, made the best homemade buttermilk biscuits every time we visited. I can see her now making the well into a bowl of flour and hand mixing the buttermilk until a soft dough formed. She would pinch off a piece of dough lickity split and roll it into the perfect ball before plopping it onto her cast iron skillet. The pan was circular which meant there was only one middle biscuit. Guess who always wanted the middle biscuit? Me! Once baked, she would take a scrape of Country Crock butter and put in the middle of the biscuit to melt. Some of my cousins preferred having a sausage in their biscuit, but not me and my brothers. We wanted the biscuits slathered in Blackburn Syrup. If you know what Blackburn syrup is, then you know it is basically a step down from molasses but very sweet. The insides of the biscuit would crumble with the butter and syrup and I would smash up the good bits and save them for last. My Grandmama was a force in the kitchen and was always cooking something to have on the table. The love she showed with her cooking will always be in my heart and I can fully appreciate the hard work she did over the years to feed all the mouths and clean all the dishes. We would walk downstairs in the morning and she would grab our face to plant a kiss on our cheek saying,  “Grandmama made you some biscuit.” 

My best childhood friend growing up was known for her chocolate chip cookies and her mom made parker house rolls. I have vivid memories of the soft pillowy texture of her chocolate chip cookies. She would hand stir the flour into the dough and said that was the key. Her mom would make parker house rolls often and her house smelled heavenly of baking bread. Nothing tastes better than warm bread or rolls out of the oven with butter. I also remember her mother having real stick butter sitting in a butter dish on the counter and I thought that was odd because we always had the tub of Country Crock and only used real butter to bake with (see post about Memoir to the 90s). This was my “twin” friend and we did everything together. Our older years have set us apart, but not in bad ways. She lives in FL and I in TN. Memories are what keep the heart alive and I love thinking about our past together. 

Another memory of food feeding the soul was of a special dinner having spring rolls and peanut sauce. I met a girl friend for a season in my early working days and she was of Filipino descent. She invited me to her house for an authentic meal and I can tell you it left an impression and I crave that peanut sauce on occasion and try to create it from time to time. Leading up to the dinner was a sweet friendship of being single, doing the work thing in the same profession, and laughing about being “bosom friends” from Anne of Green Gables. We had many giggles and lots of adventures. She is off doing great things in the photography and videography industry now and we don’t keep up but seasons are special and have their place. 

We got a new Pastor/Vicar sometime before my second child was born. I became friends with his wife and they lived around the corner. She actually helped us with childcare but we enjoyed each other’s company as well. For a time I would go to her house and have tea and good discussion. The welcoming thought of having a cup of tea with a friend was so special to me. She grated ginger, lemon zest, lemon juice and honey and put it on the stove to heat up. I have never been able to recreate that tea but I can tell you it was the best tea I have ever had. 

After my third child, my husband’s sister sent me the most wonderful care package. She truly has a gift for gift giving. I feel like she read my soul and knew exactly what I needed after this third baby. She sent a whole package of Big Spoon Roasters products. I had never heard of this company but apparently it was local to her city and she had recently discovered their goodness. She sent 3-4 nut butters and a whole package of their bars. Post baby, I was always starving while recovering and starting the nursing journey. So having such nutrient rich snacks handy was a little piece of Heaven to me. 

Greek Pork Pitas from Lillie Eats and Tells…This meal will always bring a special but weighty memory to mind. I had recently discovered this recipe and it was magical with all the tastes mixed together. Unfortunately, one of my sweet neighbors, who had the similar kid spread of all girls, journeyed through having twins but also having to say goodbye to one of the twins after several long months of fighting for her life. I can’t tell you the heartache I felt walking this road with her. Once her little one was in Heaven, I asked to bring a meal. We sat on their back porch and cried listening to their story of their sweet baby. The conversation was heavy and hard, but the food was delicious and we were able to feed the soul by sitting with each other in the hard.

Lastly, Ina Garten’s Roast Chicken is a mom felt memory of having a warm meal to feed my kids unexpectedly. Sarah and I were new on the friendship scale and I can’t remember the exact situation, but she was keeping my children for a hot minute while the husband and I were doing the pass off for the evening. I walked in her house to get my kids and the smell knocked your socks off. I was trying to gather the girls up to head home and Sarah demanded that I stay for dinner. I conceded and so glad I did. My girls ate every bite and were full and happy. I didn’t have to cook and we were able to roll on through the evening. Every mom’s dream, right? Not to cook or clean up 🙂 Again, the meal is memorable but the gesture even more. 

I love how food sparks memories for so many different circumstances. As mentioned before, the Lord walks us through seasons of friendships, hardships, enjoyment, etc. Let us open our eyes to see the beauty of each season and be grateful. 







Food That Feeds The Soul

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