Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I have a confession

My deep, dark secret isn't really much of a secret. Truthfully, I'd describe it as a well-known fact. It's pretty obvious if you've ever heard me discuss cultural traditions. 

My "confession"? I'm Southern. I was born and raised mere minutes from the Mason-Dixon line. I'm from the suburbs of a large city, so I have zero accent 99% of the time. But so much of the cultural traditions I grew up are decidedly unique to the southern portion of the US. This means I've always known home canned jam is better than store bought, I know the true meaning of the saying "bless her heart!" (it's not nice...), and all emotions, be it happiness, worry, sadness, grief, celebration, or anger, are all dealt with the same way: with food. 

So when I was told today that my mother injured herself yesterday and her knee is now in a rigid brace while they figure out what ligaments/tendons/muscles are torn, I promptly turned my car around and headed to the grocery store. She and my father are both currently working two jobs (mom used to be a teacher and now tutors in addition to her job, and my father is an adjunct professor in addition to his regular job), so having time to cook good, healthy food is hard enough already. Add in Mom being down for the count with the knee, and I knew they'd be stuck doing a lot of eating out, which they are trying to avoid. 

I got down to business, and in a matter of a couple of hours I had a large insulated cooler bag stuffed full with food: pulled chicken barbecue with homemade sauce, coleslaw, pasta salad, fruit, and a frozen, easy cook meal for later in the week (chicken fajitas). 

This is just the normal, right thing to do in the way I was raised. It's the same way many of my friends and neighbors think. Heck, the sweet elderly lady up the street feeds me just because she can! But what I don't understand is why this ISN'T the normal way of doing things in other areas of the world. 

Think about it: when your child/spouse/parent/friend/whoever is in the hospital, do you want to cook? What about when you've just broken your leg? Or when a loved one dies? Most of the time, cooking is the last thing on peoples minds during times of stress. But it's during these times when a good, nutritious meal is most important. 

So I leave you, my readers, with a challenge. Give it a try. Next time there's a tragedy, illness, or even a cause for celebration (who has time to cook when a new baby enters the family?), feed your friends and family. Make a good, healthy meal and drop it off. I can guarantee you'll bring a smile to someones face and let the people who are important to you focus on the important events unfolding in their life. 

1 comment:

  1. I hate to burst your bubble, but this isn't unique to the South. The Midwest has a strong history of doing this with casseroles, and Italians and Jews all over the States (but especially in the Northeast) have been doing it since we got here. My first reaction, when I hear that something's happened, is to start cooking: turkey chili, pasta with meatsauce, a thick bean soup...all easy-to-serve things that can feed as many or as few as you've got. I bake a few loaves of bread or batches of rolls, too; added to the fruit platters and desserts people up here often send or bring, it makes for a whole, healthful meal.