Food has the power to heal, to comfort, and to convey care and affection. Although my son, Evan, is now a grown man with children of his own, one of my most poignant comfort-food memories is associated with his birth. My friend Eve Pell, who had given birth to her son, Daniel, six months previously, was not someone whose life revolved around food and cooking as mine did. However, on the day that I came home from the hospital, she appeared at my doorstep with a dozen peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. Those sandwiches saved me from starvation while I was coping with sleep deprivation and learning how to nurse a newborn. Her thoughtful gift comforted me and kept me nourished until I got into the routine of motherhood.
When my dear friend Barbara Tropp was in the hospital recuperating after surgery, I called her to arrange a visit. She said, "Oh, Joycie, the food is so bad, I cannot eat it. Will you please bring me something with flavor?" I ran to the market, bought some tender fish, raced home, and prepared couscous and baked the fish with Moroccan herbs and spices and lots of love. As I entered her room, just the aroma seemed to lift her spirits. Nurses and a few ambulatory patients peeked in and asked, "What is that yummy smell?" We reheated the dish in the hospital microwave and Barbara ate for the first time in days.
When someone is temporarily incapacitated, or recuperating from surgery, and can't get to the market or is unable to cook, there is no better gift than homey food and a visit. A container of a favorite soup, a savory stew, some sandwiches on good bread, a quiche, or potpie can brighten the day and hasten a recovery. After the death of a loved one, the grieving family truly feels cared for by friends who bring casseroles, soups, pies, and other covered dishes to sustain them until they are able to return to day-to-day life. But what happens when chronic illness or the advancing frailties of age put an end to normal domestic routine? People may be so physically challenged that they are unable to get to a market. Many are isolated from family and friends and have no one to shop for them. They run the risk of malnutrition and are dependent upon the kindness of others for their everyday sustenance.
Fortunately, many homebound elderly are visited daily by Meals on Wheels. The combination of the hot food and genial conversation with the driver may be the brightest moment of their day. Meals on Wheels also provides social-work services and nutrition counseling for their clients. Presently the San Francisco organization delivers two nutritionally balanced meals a day to 1,500 seniors. As our senior population increases, the need for Meals on Wheels will grow exponentially the organization's resources, however, are already stretched to the maximum. Meals on Wheels depends upon community support and donations to supplement government grants. Proceeds from the sale of this book will benefit this worthy organization. These well-chosen recipes are fine examples of food that offer comfort along with delicious flavors and nutrition. All that is needed to complete the equation are your hands to provide the craft and your heart to provide the care and the love.
From From Our House To Yours. Compilation copyright © 2002 by Chronicle Books LLC. Foreword copyright © 2002 by Joyce Goldstein. Photographs copyright © 2002 by E.J. Armstrong. All rights reserved. First published by Chronicle Books LLC, San Francisco, California.
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