I do not believe anything can compare to food when it comes to carrying on Family traditions and ethnic history.
Cooking touches us where we live and where we exist as families and as a people. It is often said that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but I truly believe that the way to a family’s heart is through the kitchen door.
Some of the fondest memories that I have from my childhood start and end in the kitchen.
My mother cooking Sunday dinner while my Father piddled and tinkered outside.
Mama calling us in to wash our hands and faces before we set down to a dinner of foods that today would seem unhealthy and make you worry about cholesterol or fat.
We didn’t think about them things back then, it was all about the flavor and following the recipe that grandma had given you so you could make it just like she did, or at least try to anyway.
The world has sped up, time has become shorter and we have begun more and more to sacrifice that sense of “family”, that little piece of tradition that has bound us together throughout generations.
Sad really, when you think about it. The microwave and instant meals have played their part in the destruction of the core family, be it a family of two or twenty.
For some, it would seem kind of naive to believe that we could solve all of the world’s ills in the kitchen, but for those of us who can look back with a fondness and shaded image of being
called to supper by our mother’s in the early evenings, by knowing that there was that special time of the day when you had to be home, faces and hands washed to sit down with your family and live a little in the past of the recipes and traditions past down
from generations before you.
After school meant chores, and homework and all the family things to do if you raised a garden, or had any animals on your place.
Feeding chickens, weeding the garden, doing algebra, it didn’t matter.
Each of us had our part to play in running the household. We were all involved, in the summer time it was shelling peas, canning green beans or digging potatoes.
Everything had its season that in some way made it to the table, and you had a sense of accomplishment, a presence of pride, knowing you helped bring the meal to the table in your own special way.
No, the art of cooking will not bring about world peace, but if we as a people can learn to slow down and enjoy those meals with the family, creating traditions and instilling in each individual
a sense of pride and self-respect about who they are and where they came from maybe, just maybe, it can go a long way in restoring our souls.
Time, they say heals all wounds, but I can honestly say, when I am down and feeling like the world is closing in on me, nothing takes me back like food and cooking.
It reminds where I started and all those who stand with me who have gone before, a journey I look at with fondness as I sift and sort through Memories of an Ozark Kitchen…