Thursday, February 01, 2007

Oh, the comfort of food. Southern food. Southern comfort food. Last night my good friend Sue invited me over to her house for dinner. We're both so busy: she's a lawyer for the EPA and I'm a full-time graduate student. We see each other in passing at church and try to catch up as she runs up to play the piano for Primary and I rush off to our New Member meetings. So she invited me over to her house so we could catch up.

I think it was the nicest thing anyone could have done for me yesterday. Wednesday nights are the only weeknights I have without class. Of course I try to cram everything else in--yesterday I had a haircut and a paper due, not to mention work and reading like a mad woman. I didn't have time to even think about making dinner. Sue made, from scratch, oven baked fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and biscuits with strawberry freezer jam. And for dessert: cookies with oatmeal, chocolate chips, craisins, and cashews. Delicious. The warm food, the conversation, the combination of tastes--I felt well taken care of. It was delightful.

I think food does wonderful things. I love that as a culture we look to food for healing--when a new baby is born or when someone is sick or has passed away, we take over a plate of food. If we can feed someone something warm and tasty, we can contribute to relieving burdens. Of course there's always the strange concoctions that you really don't want to eat (why do we make so many casseroles?), but for the most part, food always tastes better when someone else makes it. One night recently my little brother wanted some leftover chicken noodle soup, and he wanted my mom to warm it up. She was busy--but Josh insisted that it always tasted better when she did it. So he brought her into the kitchen and physically moved her hand to ladle soup into a bowl and push the microwave buttons. It was definitely more work than it would have been to just do it himself, but I think he wanted the human connection even more. Of course Mom laughed and loved Josh and his quirky ways even more.

One of the kindest parts about my meal last night was that Sue packed up leftovers for me to eat today. I have class until late at night, so three days a week I end up packing both lunch and dinner. Today I'll have some fried chicken. I won't ask Sue warm it up for me, but I will remember her sweet service and effort to feed me. And I'll eat every last crumb. It'll give me the energy to get through a long historiography class tonight. So I think I'm hungry right now...

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