As children grow older, the idea of food and family begins to change. From being a young child, relying on your mom and dad to nourish you and support you with food, whether it be feeding you as a baby or preparing specific foods to help you grow during those necessary portions in your life, food is a bonding experience from the very, very beginning. In an almost animalistic fashion, we survive by obtaining the necessary foodstuffs to grow healthy and strong—and this happens because of family members and their drive to love and support.
During those strange teenage years where everything seems backwards, family still remains as a key component combined with the idea of food. Although parents and children may not get along well during this time, mom and dad still continue to make food and have meals prepared every single day. No matter what happens emotionally. Food is that element that brings a family together, no matter what stage of life is happening. During those years of college, when food and family are separated by the necessity of higher education, the food connection is split up, leaving moms and dads alone eating together, while children eat with their meal plans in the dining courts. During breaks when kids go home, their parents do nothing but feed and prepare food for their returning kids because they have missed it so much—for so many years food has connected them, and now they get a second chance to make that happen. And it seems like a second chance with every return home.
No matter how old I get, my parents still have boatloads of food ready for when my sister and I come home. My mom does nothing but ask if we are hungry or if we want anything, or if she can make anything. It is that instinct, that idea of food and love and need that connects individuals together.
In my young adult stage, food is as important as ever. Food signifies times of joy, gathering, and nostalgia. It means being with my family, my extended family, and holiday celebration that only brings happiness in thought and action. Food lets people cut loose, enjoy themselves, and brings every one together.
Family gatherings usually connect members and food together the most. During the Fourth of July, my family has a big cookout at our house and we invite all of our family members and everyone brings food dishes and drinks and we grill and eat for hours. There is talking, swimming, and other activities present. We of course have our Thanksgiving celebration where all of our family members go to my grandma and grandpa’s house and my grandma makes tons of traditional foods and we all eat and drink happily. Christmas dinner is also big with my family, but only me immediate family members, i.e., my mom, dad, sister, and myself. My mom cooks a large turkey and tons of other food and we eat it, and eat it for days after because of all the leftovers. Holidays seem to be important days where family and friends share meals and stories with each other.