I'm just back from a teeny, tiny tour promoting my new book "Talking with My Mouth Full" and have confirmed what I thought to be true -- food connects everything. Food is the connective tissue for time, space, memory, family and friends. After I read stories from the book, people would respond with stories of their own, recipes from their great-aunt's first cousin, apocryphal tales. One of my favorites was from a woman in Minneapolis who emailed me after reading the book:
I volunteered at a home hospice where we used the kitchen as our greatest tool for counseling and comfort. Every day we would bake and cook family style meals. We basically never stopped cooking. Family and any patient able would wander in and out of the kitchen sharing stories, recipes, tears and lots of laughs. One patient who came in with little time left had only one request. He was unable to eat but wanted liver and onions one more time. We fried a big pan of liver and onions, put it on a plate and put it in front of him to smell and admire. We even cut up a tiny piece for him to savor on his tongue, though he no longer was able to swallow anything. His smile as he closed his eyes and savored the smell and taste is one of my memorable moments there.