Growing up, my sister and I didn’t have many of the common household rules. Our parents never enforced strict bedtimes, we didn’t have a chore chart hanging from the fridge and we never had a homework schedule. But there was one decree I will always remember: don’t ever waste food.
For Ann Fuehrer, director of the Talawanda Oxford Pantry & Social Services (TOPPS), a single day hosts an array of activities. From shopping at Kroger, to making sure the shelves are stocked, to answering emails and phone calls, to supervising volunteers, Fuehrer, who took over as director in July 2019, leads one of many efforts to help those struggling with food insecurity in Oxford.
I’m not exaggerating when I say I’m a picky eater. I tried to make a list and thought of 25 foods I like. While I’m sure I’m forgetting some, you get the point.
I texted my dad the other day to show him a recipe I’d found – he responded pretty much right away with excitement, declaring he’d try his hand at it in a few days. Waiting to hear how it goes is providing more anticipation than any March Madness prediction he could ever come up with.
Meemaw is not so much a believer in measurements. Or detailed instructions, for that matter. Back when she could still cook, my aunt tried to learn her secrets by watching her do it, but had a hard time interpreting how much a dash of this or a “humping spoonful” of that actually was. No one, to my knowledge, has tried to make creamed chicken since Meemaw became unable to. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the legacy of food, and the ways in which the things we eat as children shape us.
In China, it’s common to ask 你吃了吗 (nĭ chī le ma) in Mandarin, translated as “Have you eaten yet?” in English, as a form of greeting. This tradition must have been spread over the world by the Asian diaspora, as my family will continue to ask me this instead of the usual “Hello,” “Howzit” (Hawaiian pidgin slang) or “Welcome home.” But regardless if you have eaten or not, they will give you food.
I told my cousin about how my housemates and I often take turns cooking meals for one another, and it’s a rare occasion when we don’t end up eating our meals together. “You’re kidding me,” she said, incredulous. “You guys actually do that? I don’t even share groceries with my housemates.”
As the leaves swirled down from the trees outside of Armstrong on Friday, Nov. 15, Miami’s Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) swirled ornate designs onto the arms of students who stopped at their booth. Adjacent to a card table covered with various canned foods like Campbell’s soup and JIF peanut butter is another table occupied by a student practicing an ancient art form: henna.
In the “The Godfather”, there’s a scene where Peter Clemenza says to Michael Corleone “Hey, come over here kid, learn something. You never know, you might have to cook for 20 guys someday.” Clemenza then teaches Corleone how to make his signature sauce in bulk. I thought of this line last night as I peered over the edge of my newly purchased industrial-sized red pot, stirring onions and spices at a low boil. It was my first attempt at my mom’s recipe, which she adapted from The New Basics Cookbook’s “Pasta Sauce Rafale.”