By Pastor David Bowen, Standing Stones Community Church, Standing Stones Christian Academy
Spring break has never been a time for our family to get out of town, but it is a wonderful time for grandma to visit. One of the things my girls enjoy doing and I enjoy watching is having grandma share some of her famous family recipes. Oftentimes they are recreating recipes that grandma knows by heart, recipes that have been in the family for years.
Grandma learned to cook from her mother, but she wasn’t taught to use tablespoons and cups. She learned by using a pinch of this and a dash of that.
She was taught to cook by memory and by feel, which is the best part of watching this dynamic. There is the interaction from one generation to another, the interaction of a generation that appreciates home-cooked meals and fresh ingredients versus a modern generation that is used to processed food from a box. Cooking habits from the past are fascinating.
Sharing meals together is always a special time. This is why Thanksgiving is so special, families gather together and cook. We sit down at the kitchen or dining room table together, talk and enjoy a meal. We share each other’s lives, learn new things and appreciating the old ways.
When grandma shares stories of her childhood and of learning from her grandma, who lived during the days of the Great Depression, lessons take on new life. It’s interesting to hear from a firsthand experience how great grandma used to grow her own food because that was basically the only way anyone could afford to eat during the Depression. There were days and weeks full of hard work, food and a close-knit community.
It’s quite an experience to witness how special meals become when you don’t open a box but you actually touch the dough and smell the ingredients, when your senses vibrate with the sights and smells of mixing and baking camp cookies. These are the cookies so big they could feed a whole camp! Those are grandma’s special cookies. Fresh baked pies, big pots of stew and soup, a pinch of this and a dash of that. The kitchen becomes a special place because what takes place when grandma is here is special.
When her visit is over, the memories stay and are preserved for another generation to someday pass down. The experience has the whole family thinking everyone should at least grow something. Hearing the stories of the days when moms could not run down to the local grocery, but they had to learn to make use of anything they had on hand. During the Depression women used to can anything and everything from fruit and vegetables to meat. My girls had never heard of canning. My wife remembers her grandmother’s kitchen and the pantry being filled with rows of mason jars filled with a month’s worth of homemade meals.
As spring break comes to an end and the grind of daily life invades the family setting, the challenge to keep those special moments will continue. Soon it will be back to hitting the drive-thru because we have to get to the next activity and cooking from a box because it’s quick and easy, but the days of preparing, cooking and enjoying grandma’s recipes can’t be pushed aside. It’s too special of a time.