How Cooking Strengthens Family Bonds
Food is something we all have in common and people of all origins and backgrounds come together to prepare meals and celebrate their bounty with loved ones. We all love food and we love eating, but what we love even more is to cook and bake so we can eat, drink and celebrate with close friends and family.
How better can we say, "I care!" than meeting in the kitchen to bake a batch of Grandma's Chocolate Chip Cookies? While the kids find her recipe, Mom pulls out the ingredients, and later a neighbor stops by just as the cookies go into the oven. When Dad arrives home, he's spirited back to his childhood with just one whiff of fresh baked homemade cookies. Gathering in the kitchen to make cinnamon rolls and catch-up on whose doing what in the family is the backbone in strengthening family bonds.
The social aspect of preparing and sharing food is an indirect line to expressing endearments, building camaraderie and reinforcing our connections. Trust builds as we reminisce about food and the fun had at gatherings and this leads to feeling safe about saying what's on our mind.
Preparing and serving food seems a given at our celebratory occasions, which lends to a strong social connection between food and birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, religious ceremonies and holidays. We don't meet simply to eat, we gather to find out what's happening within our circle of friends and family because we care who's expecting a baby, who will be going off to college in the fall and who is considering retirement after 30 years in the military. Gatherings for special occasions and the holidays are where we make our most powerful and long-lasting connections.
Food and cooking sometimes anchors our history. My grandmother taught me how to knead bread, which is a memory of her and bread making that remains vivid today. My image of her has stayed alive by our time spent in the kitchen even though she's been gone for many years.
Another short example is when my kids were young we scheduled 3 days in early December so the family could make holiday cookies and candies. The kids are grown now but they still fondly look back on those family times. It seemed an insignificant tradition at the time but I've come to realize if we weave together enough single threads we'll eventually have a strong piece of cloth.
Cynthia, thank you so much for reminding us how simple traditions like cooking together can create bonds and memories that last a lifetime. I have fond childhood memories of helping to bake cookies around the holidays. Now that I'm a mom to three young children, I hope to keep that tradition going. And it's so true what you say about family history. Learning how to make pie dough from scratch is one of many examples of a special connection in my family that was bridged from grandmother to mother to daughter.
Check out Cynthia's latest book with the theme of family bonds and great food, PORK CHOPS AND APPLESAUCE.
Cynthia Briggs message in Pork Chops & Applesauce is about focusing on what's important in life; and how taking a break to reflect upon memorable family gatherings and the sharing of dinners provides a respite from the fast pace of living in today's hectic world. Cynthia says, “Your Roasted Garlic Potatoes are in the oven baking along with your Surprise Parmesan Meatloaf. The Pear Pie with Crunchy Pecan Crust is cooling on the counter. The dishes are done, the cut flowers are in a vase on the dining room table, and the whole house smells like paradise! Now, before your guests arrive, it’s time to relax.” While you’re relaxing, why not read one or two of the nostalgic and often humorous stories that introduce many of the recipes in Pork Chops & Applesauce? Enjoy!
About the Author:
Cynthia Briggs, also known as the “Apple Queen”, has had a life-long enthusiasm for mastering the art of cooking and baking. Inspired by women of kindred spirits, she believes through sharing our recipes and food we engage in an ongoing connection with others, weaving unique bonds we carry with us through our lives.
A food columnist, Cynthia’s popular newspaper food columns (over 200 of them) have appeared in various publications since 1999. Her work has also appeared in New Mexico Magazine, New Mexico Woman, and Funds for Writers as well as several Chicken Soup books. She has talked "food, writing and techniques for living a more gratifying life" on radio and TV, at rotary clubs and women's associations, and at schools and universities.
Cynthia was born in eastern Oregon where she lived near her grandparents' farm. Later she raised her own children on a small farm in western Washington where she experienced daily "mis-adventures" of family life in the country, which she often writes about in her books, stories and columns. Her young family inherited nine well-established, and prolific apple trees with their farm leading to Cynthia’s royal nickname. She later moved to New Mexico where she mastered something new: peppers and southwestern cooking.
Cynthia Briggs’s website:
Traditional Comfort Foods & More:
Other Books by Cynthia Briggs: