I believe, as a born and raised son of Mississippi, that we have in us the innate responsibility of hospitality.
I know, I know. Your state is hospitable too. Kind folks...welcoming homes...but come on, Mississippi IS the hospitality state. (Go ahead, Google it.)
Now, what does being hospitable have to do with food?
I think it has everything to do with food.
My mom, for example, is a shining beacon of hospitality. She raised me in the same philosophy. If you have friends and family over...you cook good for them. You make them feel comfortable...you feed them their favorite things.
Now, I didn't have people over too often. Generally, someone bleeds or gets hurt or ends up inviting way too many people over and it calls for a late night and an aggravated parent.
But we did have people over when we could afford it.
If it was my friends: pizza. fried chicken. dorritos. fudge brownies. cookies. mountain dew. coke. You know, the usual barrage of fat, caffeine and sugar filled goodness. No wonder we never fell asleep before 2am...
This is simple food. Granted, it's junk food, but it is food and we ate it up.
My friends would send compliments to the chef, being my mom and I believe she always liked doing it. Sometimes to the point where she would ask why I wouldn't have people over more often. [Mostly because, when I'm tired, I can go home...not have to somehow kick everyone out...ha!]
I know it's the responsibility of the parents to always have food on hand, but I can remember my sister's friend group never seemed to catch on to the idea of feeding your guests...that is, unless they came to our house in which my mom would bring out the goods again. [Yeah, my mom is quite the hospitable ass-kicker extraordinaire]
I say all this, to paint a picture on how it all rubbed off on me.
This is why cooking and food have become such a joy to my life.
Being an introvert, I'd much rather feed people with love from a distance at times...and cooking is great excuse for this.
When people come over...I feel the need to impress, or at least satisfy their bellies and palates.
I'm not comfortable unless people are snackin' on bits or sippin' on somethin' good.
Sometimes, conversation feels empty without food and drink. Like communion at the holy table -- I think these things are spirit filled -- important to our communion with each other.
And I think that's what it's all about. We correlate food with something that makes us happy...at least if doesn't for you, it does for me. I would never want to take food for granted -- it should always be something celebrated.
This is why being hospitable is important to me.
It's about going out of your way to care for your guest.
It's love in the form of taste and experience and conversation.
It's love for another.
Hospitality is in my blood and I dare not take it for granted.
My G.G. always had a pot of coffee going for her visitors and relatives - a brown bag full of whole pecans and something sweet on the table. [And if you were really special, maybe some fried okra.]
It runs deep down like a river.
So next time you come over...let me put on a pot of coffee and we'll catch up.
[and if you just so happen to bring mountain dew or fudge brownies, I would hardly complain...]
Takin to learnin
7 years ago