Tonight for our Food & Sustainability group the assignment was to bring a comfort food dish. Craig and I talked about bringing mac-n-cheese, mashed potatoes, or soup — all of which sound good when you’re under the weather, feeling sad, or just in the mood to relax. As we thought more about comfort food — food that not only is comforting but also gives you the feeling of being ‘home’ — guacamole came to mind.
Anytime I came home for college breaks, whenever we have friends over, and many times when we’re asked to bring something to a party, we make/eat/enjoy guacamole.
So, I gathered the typical ingredients and whipped up a big batch of guac. As I share the process of making guac (which I’m sure is nothing new!), I’m going to share some thoughts from our theme tonight of comfort food & hospitality.
Avocados, jalapeno peppers, lime, fresh salsa, cilantro, red onion (and olive oil, garlic & sea salt)
We arrived at our group to find an interesting variety of dishes. Cheesecake, farmers market salad, cupcakes, blueberry bread, sweet tea, and another bowl of guac were scattered across the table. We each described what we made and why we made it. Instead of just talking about the ingredients, stories were shared — a cheesecake recipe that had been passed down for generations and had taken years to perfect, a dish made for a weekly tailgating party with friends, bread made from the family’s yearly blueberry picking trip, etc.
Food is about so much more than the ingredients, it helps us to connect to other people both by sharing and receiving hospitality. One woman in our group shared about her husband’s Puerto Rican culture, and the way that neighbors (and even strangers) will invite anyone passing by to stop in for a meal. It doesn’t matter the time of day, the cleanliness of their house, or how well they know you. If you’re walking by, you’re invited in for a meal.
I’m inspired by that type of hospitality. As a person who generally likes to have a plan, I’m not the best at spontaneously asking someone to stop by for a drink or a snack, let along a last minute meal invitation. However, after hearing people’s stories and being reminded of the power of hospitality, I’m challenging myself to go out on a limb and try to do a better job of giving and receiving hospitality.
When is the last time you offered generous hospitality or thankfully received it?