Bless the Food, And the Hands That Provided It

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home. Andrew is the host of Heard Tell podcast.

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13 Responses

  1. Mike Dwyer says:

    When I meet someone from a different country, I always ask them one question: If you went back home today, what is the first thing you would eat? You will see their eyes light up, barriers come down and you will get these beautiful, unguarded responses that often touch on family, memories and identity. Rarely is there even a moment of hesitation because it’s probably a thought they have frequently.

    The last time I asked it, the Jordanian women that cuts my hair immediately smiled and said, “Bread”. Then, unprompted, she told me about leaving her abusive husband and bringing her daughter here. She said her life really started when she came to the U.S. and it was a good decision. She was happy, her daughter was happy and she said they feel like Americans now….but she still missed her mother’s pitas.

    Food is a powerful thing. Great post Andrew.Report

  2. Oscar Gordon says:

    Love this, thanks.

    I miss my mom’s Brazilian Rice, which was a fried rice whose Brazilian origins were dubious, bus sauteing up rice, veggies, and minced bacon, well, you can’t screw that up too easily.Report

  3. George Turner says:

    This morning I had bubble and squeak for breakfast, along with bacon and eggs. Bubble and squeak reminds me of my childhood when I once wondered what the heck English kids ate for breakfast. Well now I know.

    It’s like scattered and smothered hash browns for people who don’t have access to hash browns.Report

  4. fillyjonk says:

    I loved this piece, Andrew.

    As some of you know, I lost my father two weeks ago. My mother called me that Friday afternoon and said, in not such direct words, that “you better try to get up here if you can.”

    I did, but I was too late. But in the aftermath of it, it was good to be there. My mother and I ate together for two weeks (my brother and his family are coming in later, such are the vagaries of scheduling bereavement leave in a government agency). We cooked some favorite things. My mom roasted a chicken and then laughed ruefully and said “I guess it’ll be harder to use a whole one up now” and the day after that, we made a favorite chicken enchilada recipe given us by a former minister of her church who had lived in the Southwest. And she baked a favorite cake of ours (my father was diabetic and we had to be careful about sweets in the house, and also baking was hard while he was so unwell). I think it helped, maybe?

    There’s a German word, Kummerspeck, which literally means “Grief-bacon” and is used to refer to the weight you put on while grieving. I had scoffed at that before because the more minor griefs (eg., breakups) I had suffered made me NOT want to eat…..but I know I’ve put on a couple pounds in the last two weeks and will have to explain to my doctor when I go in for my checkup on Tuesday….

    And people brought in food – lasagna, and bread, and other things.

    And we went out to eat lunch a couple times; before my father’s health failed so much going out to restaurants was a favorite thing and my mom hadn’t been able to do it, really, for six months or more while he was needing her care.

    When I spoke to her today after I got home, she noted that even though she had told the ‘church ladies’ who do bereavement lunches she didn’t want them to go to the trouble for the memorial service this fall (we have some people with some specific dietary concerns coming), someone did call her back and suggest a dessert-and-coffee reception before the service and I urged her to have them do that – I have fixed things many times for funeral lunches at my own church and it feels very much like it’s one kindness I can do for the family, and having a piece of cake or a few cookies may make small talk easier in a time when it’s going to be hard.

    I admit I always rolled my eyes over the “how to relate to your weird dumb relative who isn’t like you” pieces, or, worse, the “you should refuse to spend time with them or try to harangue them into your viewpoint over the Thanksgiving table” pieces, because my family has a lot of….different…..people in it, and we’ve always managed. You talk about other stuff, that’s all. You talk about how a favorite team is doing or the funny things someone’s kids are doing or you share memories….Report

  5. fillyjonk says:

    Thanks, everyone. It IS discombobulating and things will catch me at unexpected times, like thinking of a question I might have asked him.Report

  6. Anne says:

    It was only my husband and I but upon threat of him revoking my Okie card I had my first fried baloney sandwich. Foodied it up a bit with horseradish cheddar and toasted in a panninI pan…it was pretty goodReport

  1. April 8, 2020

    […] certain things not available at a drive-thru window. Though surrounded by food growing up, and in a family and culture in which food was predominant, I never really bothered to learn to make it myself. That changed when I left the mountains of my […]Report