Writer says food is the center of life
March 9, 2017
If you think about your memories throughout life’s different occasions, food is most likely at the center of most of them. We use food to mark special events, such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, graduations, and baby showers. Food is used to offer comfort to people who are mourning the loss of a loved one and is prepared with love and kindness. Food is also given to special family members and friends who need extra help with recovering from an illness, after having a baby, and when showing that we care. Food also plays a significant role in our daily lives, having breakfast with your friends or family before school, lunch with your peers, or dinner with your spouse.
No matter what your cultural background is, the making and eating of food is something we all have in common with one another. But, food is much more than just nourishment; it is an object through which we communicate our emotions, express our creativity and create memories with each other, which also keeps us connected.
I grew up in a Cajun family where making and sharing food is the way we celebrate and express ourselves. I’m fortunate enough to have grown up in a large family, and I spend most of my life with at least 13 people around, including my parents and younger sister, aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparent,and cousins. Many of my most memorable happenings include my family and they all revolve around food. From my grandparents making normal meals and inviting us over, to my aunts making deserts on special occasions such as Christmas dinners, where my father and uncle make jokes, my cousins play games and talk among the group of children and everyone gathering around the kitchen for a prayer before we eat. Regardless of any situation I find myself in, food is always an important part, so much that it is now a large part of my identity and plays a major role in how I perceive myself, and how I relate and connect with others.
When I talk to people about food, I find out so much more than ingredients and recipes. I learn about family and friend traditions, different cultures and more about mine. I learn more about relationships and people tell stories that give me a glimpse into their lives. The same thing happens when people ask me about food. I give them a chance to understand my life and my Cajun heritage through my stories and experiences with food. There is almost always a story tied to food in my family, and these are the stories that bring us closer together.
The kitchen is commonly known as “the heart of the home,” but the table is equally important. In my busy, plugged-in and over-scheduled life, my family usually doesn’t eat at the table together. Some of us will sit in the living room, or in their rooms while the rest of us enjoy our time together at the table. The table is where we truly become a family – not just to eat, but to talk, share, and connect with each other. Food gets people talking; it sparks conversations and debates, promotes people to ask each other questions, and acts as the center in which we strengthen our relationships. Gathering around the table is also a way we can show how much we truly care about each other, teach children manners, maintain traditions, and create memories. It will always be one of life’s greatest treasures.