Today I had the honor of preparing a meal for a family in our church who just lost a loved one. I decided to make green bean casserole and my easy cobbler recipe with blueberries. At the meal was a soldier, the grandson of the deceased, who is serving overseas. At the end, all of the ladies were in the kitchen cleaning up, and he came in and gave me one of the best compliments I’d ever received. He asked for another spoon to get another bite of the cobbler, mentioning that it tasted like home and that his grandmother had made it for him when he was younger. Instead of a spoon I gave him a bowl and encouraged him to take all that he wanted. When he left the room, I could do nothing but smile. The thought of giving someone serving our country a taste of home when he was experiencing something as difficult as a loss made me feel like I’d done something useful and purposeful.
A long time ago, I read a short story from Southern Living magazine that talked about how Southerners give love through cooking. When we know someone is having a baby, what do we do? Make meal. When someone is sick? A pot of soup. When someone is grieving? Something that tastes comforting, warm and hearty. I was reminded of that story today and how all of us there helping with the meal were trying in some small way to show we cared. Many of the recipes on the table were the specialties of each woman—Miss Jeanette’s meatloaf, Miss Pat’s dumplings, Miss Marcella’s fried okra. Each bite represented a prayer sent up, a warm thought, a demonstration of how we mourn with them and are here for them.
What are your special recipes that you make to show others you care? Do you have a signature recipe that you make for potlucks and other functions? If so, I’d love it if you shared a recipe or link here.