I love this old Jewish proverb..’ Worries go down better with soup.’
How comforting it is to feed and to be fed. From the moment we are born and laid in our mother’s arms we are programmed to fulfill our body’s need for nourishment, both physically and mentally.
As youngsters and teenagers we may have wondered why we had to spend many hours sitting around a dining table with our families, having to sit still, eat everything on our plates and wait patiently until everyone else had finished, including perhaps a tetchy great aunt who joined in on special occasions and dominated the conversation.
Sometimes we were made to eat things we didn’t like, only to develop an actual appreciation for them in later life ( I’m thinking mashed suede) and sometimes we can never smell the distinct aroma of overcooked greens without being transported back to our grandmother’s house! And sometimes we look back on some of the delicacies we were served, with total wistfulness. My Devonshire grandfather would upend a freshly baked loaf of bread, spread it with the best butter and slice it so thinly it looked like lace laid on a china plate. It was ambrosial. My Cornish grandmother made the best porridge and served it with lashings of clotted cream and brown sugar. No matter how I try, I can’t replicate either of these two. Maybe that’s how it should be – a delicious memory.
Perhaps when we are grown up we look back on those occasions with nostalgia and realise how they shaped our daily lives; the sometimes unruly banter served up with the Sunday lunch, or the rather tuneless version of Happy Birthday that accompanied the arrival of a home-made birthday cake. Even the ordinary days when we sat worrying about homework and looming exams were bolstered by a good supper before we dragged our feet upstairs to study.
As a Cornish girl I could ramble on and on about the the food I was lucky enough to eat growing up. Considering rationing had only just finished when I was born, my mother and grandmother’s larders showed no sign of scarcity. But perhaps they made the very best of what was on offer, and took advantage of the locally farmed produce too. Most of all, my grandmother loved nothing better than to entertain and I can still picture her dining table already laid for supper when most of us were still replete from a more than ample lunch.
But we all have different memories, different likes and dislikes. We may all embrace different diets but one thing is for sure, there are times when it’s good to share food with family and friends both old and new wherever you are.
And on those days when life appears a bit dismal, what could be more comforting than an arm around the shoulder and a lovingly prepared piece of chocolate cake?
I remember an occasion when I was about six years old and upset about something that had happened at school. My Godmother came to fetch me on her scooter, placed me on the back and told me to hold on tight. She took me to a cafe and ordered hot buttered toast and tea. I was soon smiling again.
This blog has turned a bit more ‘foodie’ than I intended, but maybe that’s a good thing. I cannot finish without mentioning a bit more about my mother who is no longer with me. Whenever we arrived back from a holiday there would be an egg and bacon pie waiting on our kitchen table, and a light and fluffy Victoria sandwich bursting with jam. There would be a little note with a funny drawing on it and the words ‘yum yum.’ Thanks Mum.
‘If you really want to make a friend, go to someones’s house and eat with them…the people who give you their food give you their heart.’ Cesar Chave
Blessings to you.
Ella’s Vegan Chocolate Cake (delicious..I have the recipe..)