All sorrows are less with bread. ~Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote
We did not cook for six weeks. We were fed casseroles and compassion. During my father’s illness we were fed by friends, relatives, mere acquaintances, and total strangers. We were fed physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Even the timing of these gifts was in tune. We received what we needed when needed whether it was a meal, a hug, a prayer, or a simple conversation. We had some people who did all of those things and did them multiple times. These were meals and moments born of love.
We went out for breakfast one morning to a local diner after my father’s death. This was an establishment my parents have frequented for years. The owner came by our table to offer her condolences. She added that our meal was on the house. How often do you have that happen?
Through the years I’ve watched my mother cook meals for others in times of need. Now, I do the same. It makes me feel good to help others in some way. Having been on the receiving end of such love and kindness is a feeling I can’t quite express. It’s probably one most people don’t even realize how much it means to the recipient until they’ve been put in a position to be the receiver.
There is much to be said about the power of community. The heart of every family and every community is love. The one thing people in the south do most to show their love is cook for you. I can’t think of a better way. The love is tasted in every bite, warms your soul, and eases your heart. It brings people together on an intimate level.
There is nothing more enjoyable than breaking bread with a friend. If you aren’t my friend, you will be by the time we finish breaking bread together. Add a glass of wine to that, and we’ll be friends forever!