Southern Cooking

I’m cooking 3 freezer friendly dishes today because in the South, when someone’s family has a death or illness, that’s what we do.

As far back as I can remember, that’s the way it’s always been. When my Grandmother was still alive, she was one of the women of the church that would organize the meals. The news usually went like this… someone called the preacher and then the preacher would let everyone know that there was an event in the church. Then the ladies who were in charge of organizing the meals would get busy.  Within 2 hours time, the family in need would have enough food to feed them for the week and by the end of the week, enough food for the month. They had special dishes marked on the bottom so that it would be easy to return them to the rightful owners – ready for the next major event.

Back in the day, all of this was done by phone call. With the beauty of the internet, it’s a lot easier to organize taking meals to people. One of the easiest to use is Take Them A Meal which was created by the folks who brought us Perfect Potluck. Both sites are great ways to organize both meal occasions.

Maybe this act stems from that feeling of helplessness of not being able to do something significant for the family. You always ask the question “Is there anything that I can do?” and more often than not, the family has no idea what you can do for them, if anything. So you do what you can and the simplest yet most important thing is to feed. By feeding a family in their darkest hours, you are also feeding their soul. It’s a way to let them know that they’re loved and respected and you care about what happens in their lives.

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I remember living in different parts of the country and whenever a big event happened in someone’s life, my first instinct was always “I need to cook them something”. But, it’s not as big of a thing outside the South and that’s a shame. It’s an act that really means a lot to the families whether they express that or not. The last thing you want to deal with when you’re dealing with a death or illness is remembering to feed your family.

A close family friend of ours had a major surgery this week and if the only thing that I can do to help them is to be sure they have enough food for the week, then that is what I will do. I’m grateful that I can do it and even more grateful that they’re open to it.  I’m not doing it because I have to, I’m doing it because I want to. This family means a lot to us and it kills me they’re going thru this sucky health scare. I would hope that one day, someone would do the same for us.

What am I cooking?  Shepherd’s Pie, Chicken Pot Pie and Jambalaya. All easy to make, freeze and pop in the oven for a homemade, nutritious meal. Notice they’re all comfort food. There is no coincidence in that. I hope my simple gesture brings them some comfort right now and to me, it’s a Sunday well spent.

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February 28, 2012 at 11:49 am

In my adult live I have had 2 Granparents die, one on each side of the family. The first one was from middle of know were, WV. When we came home from the funeral the kitchen was overflowing with food. There was even some food in boxed on the floor because there was no place to put it! I think that everone that was there after the funeral could have eaten off that food for 2 weeks! Then when the second Grandparent died we went back to my aunt and uncle’s house in medium size city, WV and 1 person had brought over a pie. That was it! One pie! So we were scrambling around to feed everone and ended up going to Subway and getting a party sub. Lesson I learned… I would rather live in the country. People have much more concern for thier neighbors, and everyone is treated like family! The way it should be!

    February 28, 2012 at 9:03 pm

     @moderndaycwgrl I know! It was when I lived in Chicago that I saw the “non-food” for the first time and then again when we were outside of Philly. The only exception to that was when the family was Italian and then, they almost made the South look bad! Thanks for stopping by!! 

February 27, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Now you’re preaching to the choir! Love this.

February 27, 2012 at 7:11 pm

 I never thought about cooking for someone being a regional thing but I suppose that I have associated it with religion. Judaism has pretty solid rules and customs surrounding death. 
If I go to visit someone who is mourning I always have food, can’t imagine not having it.

    February 28, 2012 at 9:01 pm

     @TheJackB I dated a guy in highschool who was/is Jewish and I remember when his Grandfather died. It was fascinating to me the customs they had. I remember all the mirrors being turned around and lots of food as well. That probably didn’t strike me as unique since of course, that’s what we do in the South!

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