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Friday, October 7, 2022

Grief and Cooking

These are the mornings that are the most hardest to get up to because the sun is rising after senseless acts of violence and shining on beds that were not slept in and that will never be slept in again.

At the time of this writing, the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, claimed the lives of 20 people, including 19 students, two adults, and the shooter, who was just 18 years old. During the shooting that took place on Tuesday at Robb Elementary School, many additional children, including one who is 10 years old and is in serious condition, were hurt. A lady identified by the police as the shooter’s grandma was hit by gunfire as well. She was 66 years old. Additionally, she is in really serious condition.

Our response to loss, death, and the mourning process is profoundly influenced by our relationship with food. It’s why people who are going through it end up with casseroles on their doorsteps and counters, and why we have the need to make roast chicken or lasagna when we hear bad news. In a sense, food is a kind of consolation, yet it also serves as fuel for both rage and grief. Cooking is a way for us to provide for ourselves as well as the people we care about. In the course of the exercise itself, we look for release, fortitude, and determination.

I’ll keep things basic. It is the day to make smothered chicken, a pot of quick chilli, or a large vat of spaghetti (see the image above), and today is also the day to ensure that those who are in need of food get it. It is time for bed, a meditative stroll, quesadillas, lentil soup or a straightforward shrimp stew, a stir-fry that will warm your soul, and quesadillas.

The rest of the weekend will probably be like that, I believe; solemn and subdued right up until Monday, when Memorial Day, a festival honouring those who have died in the line of duty and for which we have an enormous number of recipes, will arrive. Even though you may not be in the mood for it, they include grilled baby back ribs, hamburgers, and mango slaw. Ice cream, strawberry shortcake, and rhubarb crisp are also on the menu.

Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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