Appetizing memories

Published 2:58 pm Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I love to eat. I wish I didn’t, but I surely do.

Like many in the South, food for me is something that’s social, sometimes medicinal — the center of most everything.

Unfortunately, I never learned the fine art of moderation, so my love of all things food is ever apparent.

The situation was eased a bit when I moved to Michigan, where food is prepared a little differently than we do.

By and large, northerners haven’t embraced the seasonings that make Southern food so wonderful.

Now, I’m back in the South and am reveling in my return to the land of speckled butter beans, turnip greens and cornbread.

I came about my love of food honestly, as the women in my family are some truly extraordinary Southern cooks.

Until about the age of 12, I spent every Sunday afternoon at my great-grandmother’s house.

There, my grandmother and aunts would cook up the most wonderful of Southern dishes.

The kitchen was always the center of activity.

We spent priceless quality time together while shelling beans, rolling out dumplings or frying up pork chops. After dinner and clean up — and over cups of afternoon coffee — we would sit and talk and share family news and listen to my great-grandmother’s stories from days gone by.

Looking back on those days, I wonder how we found the time? How often on Sundays do you get the opportunity to sit with family, share stories and simply relax?

Back then, there was no Walmart. Almost every store was closed on Sunday. Spending time with family was the norm.

While my relationship with food certainly isn’t the healthiest, I’m sorry those Sunday afternoons at grandma’s ended.

Grandma is long gone, and with her slipped away the vestiges of a time when life was more balanced and family and simpler things were valued more than they are today.