Wednesday 16 March 2005

soul food

The lovely and Commonwealthy Jack and Heather came to visit us on Friday, not only bearing their cutie pie daughter Rebecca, but a bag full of home cooking. I am telling you, there is no greater gift to new parents than a bunch of food. Okay, maybe sleep - sleep would be the best gift of all, but that's asking a bit much, really. I have been thoroughly enjoying their homebaked raisin bread for breakfast, tucked into some lentil stew for lunch, and sampled a big slice of lasagna (just to be polite, of course). Oh my, but it was good. So from the bottom of our stomachs, I thank you both for your thoughtful treats.

The sharing of food is of great significance to me. In my family, you don't leave the house without food. My grandmother would always send us home with old margarine containers stuffed full of leftovers (she always deliberately cooked "too much") and my mother will insist that you take home some food before she'll let you out the door. I'm now 3,000 miles from home and she still sends me food. Since we're big eaters, we rarely have leftovers to offer our guests (and some of our friends have healthy appetites too, you know) but I do try to bring food when visiting others and have been known to send Paul's family home with aluminum foil-wrapped extras. I love cooking for people because I think that there's something uniquely satisfying in feeding others. You are providing nourishment and enjoyment, fulfilling a basic but hugely important human need. I fret about not having enough food for guests, we were anxious when Jasper wasn't eating when he was a puppy, and one of my main goals for each day is making sure Jack is feeding enough. If you leave our house happy with a full belly, it does us proud.

So getting back to our Kiwi mates, it's Rebecca's first birthday today. It's strange to think that a year ago we were in Ft. Lauderdale on business, not even engaged yet and Jack was just a twinkle in our eyes. How much we've all grown in a year. Happy birthday, Becca!

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