This year for Father’s Day we had a family party to celebrate the life of my Uncle Wayne. He passed away April 10, 2013 after a brief battle with cancer. This is the fourth relative I have lost in seven months – two cousins, an aunt, and now my uncle. This was a tough loss for me because since moving back to the family homestead, Uncle Wayne and I have spent a lot of time together. We both love being outside, watching cooking shows, and cooking. He spent a day not long ago teaching me his gizzard recipe that he would bring to all the family get-togethers.
It was a wonderful way to spend time with my Uncle and I got the pleasure of sharing a meal of gizzards. So I thought for the memorial get together I would try to make his recipe and share with the family. As I was cooking that morning it made me smile thinking of the ways we show how we love someone. It often seems to revolve for our family around making meals, favorite foods, or sharing special recipes.
At one time, I was staying with friends while going through a difficult time. When I woke up for breakfast, there was a marvelous meal prepared and at dinner – more of the same fabulous comfort food. Mom P told me that was the way that Dad J expressed his love – he might not say it, but he definitely knew how to show it.
Weeks before my Dad died, he mentioned to Uncle Wayne that he was hungry for gizzards. Uncle Wayne went out bought gizzards, spent the day frying them up, and brought a crockpot full (5 pounds) of gizzards over so Dad could satiate his craving. If any of us attempted to eat some of those gizzards, my father would say “Hey, Wayne made those for me!” Let me tell you, this is not a quicky recipe, it’s an all day kind of thing – complete with splattering grease. What would compel my Uncle to go to all this hassle for his annoying brother-in-law? It was his way of telling Dad that he loved him.
When Uncle Wayne was sick he mentioned that he has been thinking about the sausage gravy and biscuits from Rita’s. The next morning I got up earlier than I normally would on a Saturday, went to Rita’s and took Uncle Wayne some sausage gravy and biscuits (with a side of sausage links) for breakfast. We had a wonderful chat, enjoyed breakfast, and felt comforted by the marvelous food.
Is it the food that comforts us or knowing the food was especially prepared to meet our wants?
The gizzards that I prepared for Uncle Wayne’s memorial didn’t turn out quite right. Some how they ended up with too much pepper and they took so long that they didn’t get a chance to cook down and get to the super tender stage. Not what I wanted, but some times things don’t go as we plan. It was a comfort for me to prepare Uncle Wayne’s dish even if it didn’t turn out right – it gave me a chance to remember my friend. So for me the comfort was in preparing this dish for my family.