As we make our way into the true holiday season, my mind has been a bubbling brook of thoughts and ideas on Meals & Memories. This thought is the base of what I find most important when gathering for a meal with friends, family, acquaintances and even strangers.
Meals are one of the only things we partake in that engages all 5 senses.
Touch: the softness of the flour, the hardness of the egg shells, the warmth of the stove, the coolness of the metal fork in your hand… and also, the hug of an out of town guest or a child home from college.
Sight: the bright colors of the food, the numbers on the measuring cup, the oven timer counting down… and also, the handwritten words on a recipe card. Writing that may itself bring back a memory of a loved one passed.
Sound: the buzz of the timer, the whisking of the mixer, the sizzling of the bacon… and also, the sound of the conversations… of the stories told while preparing and sharing a meal. Stories of how someones day went or dreams they have for the future.
Smell: the browning of the butter, the chopping of the onions, igniting the gas stove… and also, the smell of your grandmothers home or your husband coming straight in from work for dinner.
Taste: the food… the meal itself. This is the sense that sets the idea of Meals & Memories apart. Taste rounds out all 5 senses. You can create a memory with touch, sight, sound and smell without engaging taste… think, a visit to the ocean. The soft sand on your feet, squinting into the sunset, the sound of the waves crashing and the salty smell of the ocean. But it’s hard to engage taste without touching the fork, seeing the combination of colors on your plate, hearing the bread break and smelling all the food you are about to eat.
Meals engage all 5 senses. And with all 5 senses engaged, we are bound to create a memory. Getting a whiff of a strangers cologne can take you back to the last hug you got from your grandfather. Or the paint color on a wall can take you back to memories of your childhood bedroom. These are examples of just one sense bringing a memory back.
Imagine the memories we can create, or recreate, when all 5 senses are engaged.
So this holiday season, I encourage you to be INTENTIONAL in your memory making. Give yourself more time than you need. Don’t stress over making a fancy new recipe. Put on your favorite shirt. The less stressed you are, the better, happier and more joyful the memories will be.
Let this year be the year that you let the memory of hurt words said long ago fall to the wayside. Let this year be the year that you begin again with a distant relative.
I encourage you to CREATE new memories. The more positive memories you create that are associated to holiday meals, the more enjoyable each and every holiday, as the years go on, will be. And each year, just the smell of that cornbread dressing, will bring those positive memories to the forefront of your mind.
Earlier this month, I shared a couple of printables you can download and use for holiday meals. One is an easy holiday meal planner that could help keep you stress-free and the other is a fun, interactive page about Meals & Memories. A conversation starter!
It’s never too late. You are never too old. To create a new memory.
Happy Sunday, friends. And if I don’t see you before Thanksgiving… I hope it is filled with joy and laughter and good food and good company… and many many great memories.