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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Food is more than nutrients, it's family, culture and love

Extended family crowding into grandma's family room after a potluck meal to sing happy birthday to (fill-i one of many family member's names), and after the candles are blown out, what will be carved up and served to all and sundry?  Carrot cake.  My husband's family has a strong carrot cake culture that I first observed while I was dating my future spouse.  Family gatherings always meant grandma's signature (and uniquely moist and delicious) carrot cake.  And yes, (with a somewhat cruel smirk on my face) I'm going to make your mouth water over this delectable sheet cake frosted with cream cheese frosting that creates heaven in a sheet pan . . . but no, I'm not going to divulge the recipe.  Food is certainly a method of conveying nutrients into our bodies, but if that is all food means to you, you have my deepest sympathy (and need for a consult from a willing RDN such as myself).  Food is culture, family, love, memories, tradition and occasionally a time machine.  I remember distinctly the menu for the Sunday dinner when I first invited the love of my life over for dinner.  A raspberry shake always transports me to LaBeau's Drive in at Bear Lake, and I still think fondly of the soup my sweet neighbor brought over after the birth of my second child.  Food is more than calories and percentages.  Food tells a story of some of the most momentous and bittersweet moments of our lives.  So in honor of National Carrot Cake Day, I challenge to you embrace your own family's food culture - and think carefully of what your own food story will tell.

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