Sunday, February 13, 2011

Food offers comfort, security

When I woke this morning, my first thoughts were on our neighbors. The mother of that family is sick and recuperating and once it seemed appropriately late not to wake them, I called and offered to bring dinner to them. They were appreciative, but are already inundated with food. My offer will go into hold until next week, I assured them.

Her illness made me think about how comforting and helpful food really is. In 2008, I spent nine days in the hospital. When I returned home I was weak and sore and nearly helpless for several weeks. Our church in Norfolk put me on the “meals list” and volunteers brought us hot dinners for more than a month. Some offerings were simple, some more elaborate, but every bite was dearly appreciated. It was one less thing for my husband to manage and the meals, arriving like clockwork around 6 p.m. each day, were accompanied by kind words of support. What more could a person ask for as they are recuperating?

My neighbor made me think of how food offers a measure of security. I have a pantry full of canned goods, crackers, dry beans and rice, seasonings and spices; a freezer full of meats, fruits and vegetables; and a fridge full of condiments, cheese, milk, meats, fresh fruits and vegetables and more. As I thought of what I could prepare from the items I have on hand, I felt pleased. I could make numerous offerings, for multiple days, for the neighbors and for my own family without leaving the house. Knowing that fills me with a sense of security and calm.

Food is so much more than just food. It offers sustenance, security, a method to help others, comfort, as well as variety and nutrition. The message was brought home as I spent part of the morning cleaning out some old files and boxes and packing items for longer storage in our outdoor workshop. I came across a sheet of adhesive labels for canning jars – oval stickers trimmed with fruit and leaves that make canned goods look a bit prettier. I smiled to see that of the 12 stickers on the sheet, nine were long gone and that I had kept the remaining three for future use.

Those labels will make their way onto something good this spring – jelly or jam or pickles or some other creation to be shared by my family or given to others. Maybe they will wind up on whatever casserole I take to my neighbor next week. But they are a sign of the importance to share food with others – to offer support, comfort, sustenance and friendship. I urge you to find ways to share food gifts with others, whether elaborate or humble. Your efforts will be greatly appreciated.


  1. Thanks so much! I sent them a casserole yesterday; manicotti noodles stuffed with ground turkey, spinach and cheese. There was so much filling, I made a second batch for us (no fuss dinner tonight!)