the words of tim walker husband • dad • writer • superhero geek

food memories

as a kid, every summer involved a week-long trip with my mom and my brother to the mountains of north Georgia for a week. i bet in your head, you are envisioning a picturesque cabin, hiking through beautiful forests or splashing down mountain rapids. sorry, this wasn’t that kind of trip.

this was a week of visiting the elderly. or to an elementary-age boy, the ancient. (now that i’m 43, they don’t seem quite as old.) my mom’s aunts, uncles and grandmothers all lived in and around ellijay, georgia. her favorites—aunt gladys and uncle stewart—were always our host. we would stay in their house perched up on a hill, and then daily, we would venture out and spend a few hours visiting one of my great-grandmothers or great aunts.

they all had gardens. they all would sit in living rooms with window-unit air conditioners and maybe a boxed fan plugged in. and the main thing i remember is a lot of talking, some awkward hugs, a photo op or two, and then the eventual, “boys, why don’t you go outside and play?”

and while the fun moments were few—playing in the river, going to the local school and playing in the playground, drinking from a mountain spring—there’s one thing i distinctly remember about that time. corn.

yes, corn. my aunt gladys would make the most delicious creamed corn. i remember sitting at her tiny kitchen table and eating spoonful after spoonful. i even followed uncle stewart’s lead and cut up a fresh onion and mixed it in my creamed corn. so good.

some of my best memories are tied to food.

as i get older, food becomes a little more problematic. i can’t always eat what i want—either through personal choice, my body’s rebellion or the warning of a doctor.

but i come from a family of amazing cooks, and some of the most loving, warm memories i have are in the kitchen.

my mom’s mother, my grandmother, would make a feast for my brother and me every time we stayed at her home. she would make homemade biscuits, pork tenderloin, cooked apples, eggs and homemade gravy. i wish i could sit down with my boys one time at her table and enjoy that meal with them and her. i still miss her, and think of her every time i put frozen biscuits in the oven or make a strawberry cobbler.

my dad’s sister, who has always been like a grandmother to me, is the casserole queen. every Christmas, she would prepare a buffet of about six different kinds of casseroles and the most delicious beef roast and gravy i’ve ever tasted. and when we would visit her home, she would “outsource” dinner to include some of my favorites—like a bucket of KFC and a cheesecake from Sara Lee.

my mom is an amazing cook. she can pretty much make anything. i remember dinner time at the table was like a standoff with my brother to figure out who would get the last remaining item. we would silently keep tabs on one another, to make sure whoever was entitled to the last piece of country fried steak got his.

in our first year of marriage, my wife and i enjoyed carb loading. we received a bread machine as a wedding present (a kitchen gadget popular in the early 90s), and our apartment was always filled with the aroma of fresh baked bread.

i could go on and on, with memories of great meals with family and friends. there’s just something so incredible about food and relationships. maybe that’s why Jesus shared meals with His own disciples—before and after His death.

what are some of your favorite food memories?

 

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4 Comments

  1. Oh, Tim! You’ve struck a cord now! Why you gotta bring this up when I’ve freshly RE-started a diet. 🙂 My brother and I have this brown pot with a lid that my mom baked beans in. Those things would cook for hours in the oven. And when they came out, eating them was like candy, they were so sweet. And still, I can find no one whose mac and cheese was as delicious as my grandmother’s. My grand father was more of a cook than anyone in our family, though. He hand-shredded cabbage for cole slaw, and would simmer up some greens—but man, they smelled bad! He used to tell me all the time that I should eat spinach. But I was picky, and though a vegetarian, didn’t like vegetables. Now? Oh, I love spinach now. Still can’t bring myself to eat greens, though. And to this day, I can’t eat anything that has to do with sweet potatoes. I didn’t care for them much to begin with, but I especially didn’t care for them when my dad forced me to eat every last bite of them after I was already full. He sat beside me to make sure I finished them. And just after the last forkful entered my mouth, everything (and I do mean EVERYthing) came right back up. He was mad like I’d done it on purpose. I just looked at him and said: “Told you I was full.” Thanks for the memories, Tim! Southerners like us have lots of them centered around food!

  2. dude, I now want cream corn for lunch…thanks. My favorite food memory is of my grandmothers candy cake. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas and if I was especially good on my birthday I’d get to eat that cake. It had white whipped icing with chipped up pepermint mixed in. I could eat my weight in that cake…and now days that would be a whole lot of cake. This past year was my first Thanksgiving, Christmas and birthday with out her and I sure do miss that cake…

  3. Oh, Tim! Food is my mother’s love language. You never left her house without consuming ungodly amounts. And nobody–NOBODY–can made a hamburger like a “Gladys hamburger”. I don’t know what she does to it. And she’s not telling! My sisters and I have all laid claims to her griddle, seasoned by years and years of her cooking. All the grandkids always want a Mee-Maw cheeseburger when they come home. Never mind the gazillions of casseroles she made through her 50+ years as a southern pastor’s wife. Forget the piles of homemade desserts. There’s just something about the oozing cheddar and the homemade pickles. Hmm. Is it lunch time yet?

    My favorite food memory has to be my grandmother’s breakfast. In fact, my mom and I had this conversation just the other day. It was the same every. single. morning. Scrambled eggs. Canned biscuits. A slice of Cracker Barrel sharp cheddar cheese. Every time I see a slice of sharp cheddar cheese, sweet memories flood my mind and a story about her is inevitably told.

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