To be honest, as our three kids were growing up, preparing meals was a basic chore for me, a necessary job and a difficult job. I’m really more of an organizer than anything, and I would choose cleaning over cooking almost every time. (Not to say that I love to clean or am a super clean freak or anything—I’m not! Just saying, IF I had to choose. . . .) I remember well the intense responsibility of the constant pressure to frequently provide a meal–it is real!
Like many moms, when my kids were younger I had 8 to 10 meals I would make over and over for dinner that most in my family liked: spaghetti, cobb salad, BLT’s, breakfast for dinner, tacos, burritos, sandwiches, southwest chili, regular chili, a couple of different chicken casseroles, and an occasional roast with carrots and potatoes.
When they were toddlers I would make a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into “fingers” with apple slices, cheese quesadillas with ranch dressing, macaroni and cheese, leftovers, and other favorites for lunch.
And when they got older, Tony started grilling more, and we would occasionally have grilled pork, chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers, and grilled vegetables intermixed into the regular dinners. Delicious!
When our kids were younger I looked forward to Friday night and Sunday lunch because we would usually eat out and I would get a break from making meals. And the occasional lunch play date at Burger King–now it might be Chick-fil-A–so the kids could have a play date and enjoy the play area.
Cooking has never been something I loved, but I have some of the best memories with our family that involve food. I’ve become even more aware lately of the importance of a good meal to bring the family together and the sheer power of serving a meal out of love, showing true hospitality; or, being served a homemade meal, how truly wonderful it is.
Food comforts and uplifts. Food holds meaning and shows care and love. Our favorite traditions involve special cakes and treats, special memories from our childhood.
Have you noticed the powerful emotions surrounding food? In providing it and in eating it? Food is powerful. I would even go so far as to say food IS power.
I watched a movie recently called To the Bone on Netflix about a girl with an eating disorder, anorexia. Near the end of the movie (spoiler alert) she has a moment with her mother where her mother tells her “I accept it if death is what you want.” But she is not giving up. She suggests to the daughter that she has heard of a possible way to connect and bring healing through holding her daughter like a baby and feeding her rice milk from a bottle. She holds the bottle up and asks her daughter if she can feed her.
At first the daughter doesn’t feel comfortable letting her mom hold her and feed her. Then, later, she changes her mind, and here’s the gist of that scene:
The mom feeds her rice milk from the bottle to reenact the gentle, loving feelings a baby might have from a loving mom when she is held, rocked, and fed (I’m assuming).
The mom sings to her extremely thin daughter, resting in her mother’s arms, drinking slowly: “Hush little baby, don’t say a word. Mama’s gonna’ buy you a mockingbird. If that mockingbird doesn’t sing, mama’s gonna’ buy you a diamond ring. And if that diamond ring turns to brass, mama’s going to. . . . “
Sometimes as a desperate mom you do desperate things. Sometimes your child has a mockingbird who is not singing and a diamond ring that’s turned to brass.
Most moms do their best. They give their all, genuinely working hard to be good moms. They want to provide a warm, true path for a happy and successful life for their sons and daughters.
Yet, there are times when circumstances beyond our control invade on our children and families. Or maybe we had a large role in causing the dark invasion, yet we still grieve and pray and wonder how we can fix it. Maybe we’re fighting our own invasions, helpless to change.
What to do? We take the next healing moment available, if we are wise. And sometimes it involves food.
This mom in the movie connected with her daughter in this scene and had one healing moment. A miracle is instantaneous but healing happens over time. Healing doesn’t happen in one second or one minute, usually. This was one healing moment. When we don’t know what to do we can hope for and plan for one healing moment until change happens.
Food is powerful. Food is power.
As a mom or dad one of the most basic provisions for our kids is preparing and serving food. It is one of the main ways a caretaker takes care of a family. There is a certain thankfulness and contentedness that comes from knowing where your next meal comes from. It brings security and warm feelings of confidence and love inside.
Comforting food is found at most of our favorite events, too, at birthday parties, at weddings, at church, after a concert, or at a small group.
Eating with people creates a closeness and a fellowship, a connection to one another. We belong and can feel close to the provider or the ones we’re eating with.
One night I was craving potato soup, and I couldn’t believe it, I actually had potatoes and bacon, so I decided to make some. I found a great recipe I adapted for potato soup at gimmesomeoven.com.
I served up potato soup and sprinkled bacon on top and gave it to my husband Tony and my adult son Isaac. It was made with love. We ate together and enjoyed the moment.
This is a new recipe for me that I made for dinner. It’s a definite keeper! So good!
Here’s the recipe the way I made it, if you want to try it. I hope it brings you comfort and nutrition, and if you’re serving it to someone, I hope it draws you closer together!
Potato Soup for the Soul
8-9 small Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
12 slices of bacon, fried, and save the bacon grease—half to break and add to the soup and half for a topping
½ white onion, finely chopped
4 small cloves garlic, finely chopped (I used garlic powder)
3 cups of vegetable broth
3 cups of milk, warmed (I used whole milk—use what you have)
¼ cup flour
½ cup plain yogurt (I used vanilla)
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (I used 5 slices—it’s what I had)
2 tablespoons of butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
Fry the bacon and set aside on a plate with paper towels. In a large soup pan, add the chopped onions and garlic and the bacon grease and saute’, stirring for 7 minutes or until cooked through. Sprinkle the flour over the top of the onion mix and stir in, making a thickener for the soup. Add the broth and warmed milk, stir and simmer together. Add the diced potatoes and stir. Add salt and pepper. Boil for five minutes, and add 2 tablespoons of butter, and then simmer covered for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning. When the potatoes are soft, mash some of them to thicken the soup. Add the yogurt, cheese, and half the bacon broken into bits. Top with the rest of the broken bacon, shredded cheese, or whatever you like. Enjoy! And enjoy the ones you’re with!