My Loving Spoonful

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My Loving Spoonful

Cherished recipes handed down with love, given back with hope

 

My patient wouldn’t eat. His frail body was shrinking more by the day, his trays of hospital food untouched. As his nurse, I had to break the news to his wife.

She walked in carrying a casserole dish: his grandmother’s recipe. He perked up at the familiar aroma of sauerkraut, taking his first bites in days. She beamed with pride.

Deeply moved, I had found the inspiration for my life’s work: collecting family heirloom recipes that have comforted a sick loved one in the hospital, a nursing home, a hospice facility or even at home.

As a hospital nurse, I have repeatedly witnessed the unique power of these foods to bring nourishment and cheer to seriously ill patients. It may be the chili that evokes a long-ago family garden, the date pudding that always lit up Christmas, or the Hungarian donuts pulled from bubbling oil with a young granddaughter who, decades later, turns to the sweet morsels to perk up her ailing grandmother.

When these favorites arrive, I often watch relatives crowd tightly around the patient’s bed, forming a cocoon, feeding the patient a spoonful or two. For a few minutes, the hospital bed transforms into a place of food and family, recreating happier times.

What a gift for these families! A gift that creates a generational circle: children and grandchildren learn how to make the recipe, then years later recreate the dish for the very loved ones who taught them so well.

Those powerful stories drew me in, but I’ve found something special about recipes that have endured this many years. They’re delicious in their own right! I make many of them regularly for my family, and hope you will, too.

I continue to seek more examples of recipes and stories to be included in “My Loving Spoonful,” my future cookbook. Please submit them through this form and check this page often for updates.