After getting hurt in a diving accident and told never could never dive deep again, we made the choice to reinvent ourselves yet again. So I enlisted in the US ARMY. Amazingly, the Army doctors never noticed the scar tissue in my chest. Quite different than today. I was stationed at Fort Stewart with the 24th Mechanized Armor Division. Again, when I was home (my unit trained in the field constantly), Donna and I would travel to Savanna for some R&R. Oddly enough, our most frequent hang out was a small funky sushi bar on River Street. Japanese cuisine became a new fascination. This is where I was also introduced to classic southern BBQ. The smell of hickory smoke still does something magical to me.
My mother came to live with us that year. It was the circle of love and caring come around to us. Mom was still able to do as she always did. Feed us. Those farm girl cooking skills never left her. She helped us raise our boisterous and highly energetic children. Massive meals were once again part of our lives as three teenagers and all their friends would descend upon us like ravaging mogul hoards. We wore out two stoves and several refrigerators. The kids grew up strong and hearty. We were blessed to have her with us through those years. We spent countless happy hours together planning meals and cooking together.
Why is cooking food with others so important? The time we spend cooking and sharing the process of creating a nourishing meal bonds us together as few other activities. The conversation, sharing a taste of something, and total focus of all your senses on the moment allows us to swing away from our troubles. The pride of accomplishment as the meal is presented to your loved ones gives deep heart felt joy. All these things create a Zen of emotional and sensory impact. It is a primal need as social creatures, to bond over the fire and nourish our bodies and feed our souls.