Food is the Ingredient that Binds Us Together

Our friendship started with a recipe wedding shower. A friend of my mom’s hosted a recipe/kitchen-themed wedding shower for me. I received mixing bowls, measuring cups, cookbooks, and too many other items to recall. The most memorable and priceless gift I received was a handwritten recipe from each person in attendance. The recipe was a 5×7 card and each one was signed. These women each share with me their signature recipe. Each signature dish was best known for bringing it to a potluck, a funeral luncheon, a baby shower, whatever the important event was everyone shared their best recipe.

My mom’s friend lived just down the block from me and as a young bride became my friend too. She was the first to bring a dish when each of my babies was born. She was my daughter’s foster grandparent for, “bring a grandparent to lunch day” when her own grandparents were Minnesota Snowbirds. She and her husband share their day-long efforts of making Rosettes for over 40 years each and every Christmas with a plate of Rosettes. As my kids grew and could devour more than one rosette there were two plates heaped high delivered to our door. When we have an annual summer block party my friends are the first to offer their assistance. My friend’s husband still volunteers to take the large, heavy wash basket filled to the brim with donated food items to ECHO Food Shelf. He weights it and reports back for the neighborhood newsletter how much we donated. All done with razor-sharp precision and accuracy that only a retired Accounting Professor can practice.

My mom’s friend of over 55 years and my friend of over 40 has in recent weeks developed some health issues. She is not able to do everything that she and her husband have been doing for years. The other day, with her eyesight, affected, she told me, “I am so hungry for a good read.”  She has been a life-long reader, learner, and teacher. Time and age have a way of changing things.

This Christmas, I took a small plate of cookies, and shortly thereafter I received a phone call raving about the tasty cookies, anything tastes better if you don’t have to bake it! A couple of days later her husband appears at my door with three shiny red apples and a store-bought container of caramel dipping sauce. He said, “We didn’t make rosettes this year. I don’t know if you have ever tried this dipping sauce, but I found it at the grocery store, and we really like it, so I brought one for you to try. We hope you like it!” We loved the apples and caramel sauce, but anything is better when shared with love and friendship.

Over the weekend, I baked a spiral ham. I made mashed potatoes, green beans, and fresh bread it was quite the feast. It would take us days to finish all the ham, so it was a no-brainer to share with my friend and her husband, who has had to take on much of the cooking. That evening after supper, the phone rang. ‘Terri, I will never know how to begin to repay for your thoughtfulness and kindness. The ham was so moist. We have not had any ham yet this holiday season. The mashed potatoes were so tasty. I guess I can only say thank you and say a prayer for you. So, thank you for being our neighbor.”

I appreciated the phone calls, thoughts, and prayers but truly, it is my turn to be a good neighbor. My dear friend, you have been my good neighbor for many decades and now I want to thank you for allowing me to treat you to a few goodies. You have set forth a good example for many to live by and I promise to try and do my best to follow that example. Love you. Stay strong.

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