I posted something on Facebook yesterday that got me thinking as I struggled to find my own answer to the question.
The alarming regularity of unthinkable tragedies as of late have taught me something about myself. When tragedy hits I, like so many others, ache to do something to make things better and to offer comfort. But in this world where we're all so interconnected and yet so far from arm's reach, it's just not possible to hug those who are grieving, or care for them in the coming days. So I tend to just cocoon.
This time–and I hate that there is a this time–I wanted to break that pattern and go outward, finding a way to bring comfort to others as they deal with what's happened in their own way. Whenever anyone I love is hurting, I get an overwhelming urge to cook for them. It feels to me like I'm handing them a piece of my heart and saying “I hurt for you too, and I hope that makes this a little less lonely and painful to go through.”
So I decided to ask a question: What dish would you bring to a friend who was grieving?
What struck me after asking it was how difficult it was for me to choose. Cakes or cookies felt inappropriately celebratory. Some dishes felt too fussy, others too much like a cocktail party. This one, though, spoke to my heart–it's full of warmth and good things from the garden, and the dollop of pesto is a reminder of the inevitability that brighter days do lie ahead.
This whole circuitous train of thought brought to life something I’ve said a gazillion times before and I’ll probably say a gazillion times again: food is about so much more than just what we eat.
I'd love to know … what would your answer be?