My Mother, Food and Love.

4 comments

 

The perfect Sunday morning arrived for me to share this.

It whispered …..

Today.

For my Mother.

To honor her intimate relationship with food and love.

She knew how to make a love affair out of every meal.

Her love for people.

My mother fed everyone.

Literally and metaphorically.

She doled out food and baskets of baked bread and rolls, to anyone near enough to take it.

She apprenticed us early–and then the grandchildren. Aprons too large folded to fit. Feet on the old wooden stool for scooping deep into the cool metal flour bin.

I was a terrible apprentice. I was more interested in studying the way her hands plunged in and around the dough turning it round and round in the flour, as if  gently powdering a freshly bathed newborn.

Sweep turn, coax, pat, pat.

She would scoop a loving arm load of dough carefully onto the metal pans followed by a quick slathering of shortening for the rise.

She would say  “Making bread is a touch and feel exercise.”

My sister Dee Dee and my daughter learned “the touch” and memorized her dump and pour recipes by feel. They are expert bakers, they paid attention. Me, not so much.

My mother was not the hug and kiss type, those expressions seemed to fleeting to her.  Food is how she sent her love into this world. She stirred and baked love into everything she created.

Her food was memorable, intoxicating and magic.

I wrote this snippet in January– memories of my eyes witnessing her heart; my soul immersed in her food.

 

Prayers and Promises

My mother said food and happiness could not exist one without the other.

Food was love.

Food fixed things that were broken– Big things– like when best friends were no shows at birthday parties.

And hearts, when those we loved acted in despicable ways that threw out trust like dirty dishwater.

When you felt unworthy or discarded.

She knew that soaking in chocolate layer cake with freshly whipped cream created a snippet of joy.

So pervasive that while you were basking in it, you forgot who you were supposed to be.

Her magic way of feeding people disarmed you in ways that you never saw coming.

The way she poured my father a cup of tea, then slid that slice of freshly baked apple pie over to him in a way that spoke of love from the deepest places.

Mom stealthily moved the dishcloth over the table, as if scouring a crime scene for further evidence of– gratitude– beyond a stray crumb.

Together, her pie and touch could soften the consequence of everything from hurt feelings to full on sins, or any other calamity that was headed your way.

She would say “People come to the table hungry but leave with more than just a full stomach. Everyone is hungry for something– they cannot eat.”

Hard-to-tell truths were extracted through her warm bread buns slathered with melted truth serum butter that no lie or secret could withstand.

By the time you had taken a bite, she would have given the gentle intuitive pat of hand, as if signaling the inner storm that had been brewing to pour out.

Over a bowl of her fish chowder, you would agree to do just about anything good or holy; no need to seal promises on the bible, we “swore-on” and testified over Mom’s food.

That’s how she liked prayers and promises, simple yet powerful.

 

Archetypes

  • Sue Ann Gleason May 10, 2015, 11:40 am

    I love this piece, Dana. There are so many sensory images here that take me straight back to my grandmother’s kitchen. I have been feeling a deep desire to make bread lately and I know that it’s because I am wanting/needing the essence of Grandma right now. And the meditative quality of kneading that dough, too. I love it that your sister and your daughter ‘paid attention’ and that these traditions live on in your family. Whenever I see a cherry pie I think of you. And this, oh this: “Everyone is hungry for something– they cannot eat.” xxoo

    Reply
    • Dana May 10, 2015, 2:55 pm

      Sue Ann thank you again for creating the writing environment to encourage these memories. xx

      Reply
  • Faye May 11, 2015, 1:26 pm

    Your mother was a very beautiful and inspirational woman. I learned so many valuable lessons from her that I carry with me to this very day.

    Reply
  • april May 12, 2015, 3:24 am

    lovely sensory memories of your mother, dana. recalls to mind the good food/feeling better/love connection i grew up with, watching my italian grandmother spend an entire day preparing a special meal.

    Reply

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