Food and Cooking Memoirs

If anything gets you thinking of family memories it’s food and cooking. What do you wait for during the holidays? Those dishes that only get prepared once a year, right? I love food and cooking. I love it so much I became the designated family cook in the family after my mother had to give the job away. I had the patience to cook the food in that “old-fashioned” way that let the flavors simmer.

Cooking in our home meant starting a few days before the holiday meal. Preparations went well beyond just making the food list. It meant cutting, washing, mixing, pre-cooking, real cooking, and final cooking. Holiday cooking was a real chore. Though I seldom feel like really cooking anymore, I don’t have the heart not to. When family comes to my house for the holidays, they make it clear that they come for the home-cooked meal.

I can’t deny that I enjoy how everyone eats until their stomachs are stuffed. Then they sit around waiting for an inch of room to get into their stomachs so they can stuff them again with more food.

Memoirs around food and cooking can fit into almost any family memoir. Who was the designated cook in your family for the holidays? Was it you? Write about your experiences with learning to be the cook. What was it like the first time, waiting to get reactions from your meal? Do you still carry on the traditions or have you started to give the responsibility to another member of the family?

Draw and Write

I saw the cutest family cookbook memoir today. A friend showed me her family keepsake. Not only did she have family recipes from the 1800’s, the cookbook included hand drawings of seating arrangments for the holidays. Apparently, her family was really into the etiquette thing and wanted to establish how the table was set and everything.

Family memoirs can include anything of importance in your family. Even if it wasn’t important to everyone else, you can record that memory too. Baby boomers have many memories that are unique so get them down as they come back to you.

What type of food memories do you have? Can you remember where everyone sat at the table during the holidays? This is a great time of the year to write a bit on food memories. Go for it!

Is it Stuff or Meaning Making?

So I’m writing this piece, right? I put myself in the chair and just start typing away. The words are flowing and they sound great. I hit save and yes, I’ve done my writing for the day. But I wonder, have I made meaning in my life with this or did I just write stuff?

Writing is such a powerful medium. The emotions it brings out in the writer go unnoticed most of the time. Yet writing is a medium that can be used for healing because of the ability to put on paper things that won’t come out in verbal words. Some couples find their primary way to communicate is through writing notes to each other. If that works, let it work.

Making meaning can just happen with the writing. At times, I ask myself, “Did I really do anything except put stuff on the paper this morning?” Maybe the anwer is , “No, that’s all you wrote — stuff.”

But still, words flowed. Everyday is not a day to be profound. But everday when you write your feelings to paper, you do something to help the words know that they don’ have to be stuck inside. They matter and have a life.

Get the words out. When the sufff is out, you can get to other wriitng. You can make everything count for meaning. Just keep writing and keep seeking to get to what counts for your writing goal.

Write stuff today. That is, deliberately write stuff that has been holed up inside for too long. Put on the timer and let the stuff flow. Then sit back and let the meaning making come out that was hiding behind the stuff you denied writing for so long.