Hey Mom. What’s for Dinner?

“Food may be essential as fuel for the body, but good food is fuel for the soul.” -Malcolm Forbes

Today, I’ll be talking about food. I’ve been experimenting with the way I format my posts and I found I really liked today’s quote in particular. Malcolm Forbes, the entrepreneur and publisher of Forbes Magazine, really did say it best that good food is fuel for the soul. In fact, I can only think of one other quote about food off the top of my head, given by a very wise leader of a food-oriented community: “Food is fuel. If you get picky about what you put in the tank, your engine is gonna die.” In reality, this was from Disney’s Ratatouille, when Remy’s father encourages him to eat garbage. But I digress. Food is fuel for the body. Good food is fuel for the soul.

No one knew that better than my Grandpa, for whom food was as much an art as it was a meal. I learned a lot from him: making pasta aldente, adding potatoes to tomato sauce to soak up oil, and how to roll the perfect meatball. Even something as simple as bread and coffee, eaten on the patio in early morning, seemed to nourish my spirit. The process of preparing a meal, from chopping vegetables to boiling broth, brought nourishment as well. Even now, I can hear my Grandpa singing along to Pavarotti while bent over a pot of mashed potatoes in his tiny kitchen. To the end of his life, food brought him both pleasure and joy, which he then shared with us as we filled our plates.

And others have shared this gift with me as well. Back in the days of my youth, when both parents were out working hard, there was usually little to no food of substance in our pantry. So one day in Summer, I had grown tired of subsisting on ketchup and saltines and walked to my aunt’s house. “What’s for dinner?” I asked, walking in to sit at the table. Not skipping a beat, my aunt began the preparations. To tide me over until then, she set out a bowl of fruit. Even now I can say that I had tasted of the fable ambrosia of deities as I suck down those grapes, one by one.

Fast forward to now, when I have a job and a credit card and am old enough to use the oven without adult supervision. I’ve recently started a subscription to Hello Fresh, an at-home food delivery service that provides you all the ingredients you’ll need to make a meal fit for a king. For the last 3 weeks, I have cooked a new dish every day by following their recipes: pesto burgers, home-made chicken pot pie, and schnitzel among them. Sometimes I was overtaken by my generous spirit and shared my creations with the family. Other times, I sucked down my pork enchilada’s alone in the dead of night, like Gollum’s frenzied fish feeding in Lord of the Rings.

As essential to us as air, there is something beautiful about how food can connect us. Some of my best friends have been made while going out to impromptu dinners or during trips to cafes. In its eating or preparation, food connects us back to the simplest, most basic need: to fuel our bodies. But just like Malcolm Forbes said, it also has the ability to fuel our soul. Most of my favorite memories have occurred in the kitchen: laughing with my cousins over turkey at Thanksgiving, birthday dinners at Cheesecake factory with my best friends, or making meatballs one last time with my Grandpa at the kitchen counter. No matter when or where, good food manages to give those moments to us and preserves their memory through baked bread and savory sauces. So, what are you cooking?

Stay safe and hopeful!

in the way good food can

Some of my favorite memories have been formed over impromptu dinners or trips to the cafe.

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