The Endless Table: How recipes can keep your memories alive

The Endless Table: How recipes can keep your memories alive
Image by RitaE from Pixabay

When the father of celebrated Boston chef Joy Adams was nearing the end of his life, he chose hospice care in the home. Joy, along with the rest of her family, was there to support him. As CNN’s Ashley Strickland writes, Joy not only had fond childhood memories of several dishes her father made, but credited him with imparting to her a true love for food. So it should come as no surprise that that she used her culinary skills to comfort her dad by cooking for him.

Adams says her father especially enjoyed the cream of mushroom soup; it was a new recipe she made for him: “I’ve always known the importance of food through bringing people together and nurturing them, but I also learned that food can be enormously healing. This was how I could say goodbye with love. I put all of myself into that soup.” She also shared that “through my father’s death, I learned so much about life.”

Joy is one of 20 well-known chefs whose personal stories of loss, along with favorite family recipes, are included in a new digital cookbook, “The Endless Table: Recipes from Departed Loved Ones.” The book also reminds readers how important it is to have conversations with family members about their end of life wishes. It even has a helpful guide to getting what is not an easy conversation started.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ellen Goodman, who co-edited the cookbook, is also co-founder of The Conversation Project, which works to encourage families to have these often difficult, but necessary discussions.

Goodman shared in a TED talk: “For some, talking about death is like letting it in the room. The end of life isn’t just a medical thing that happens, it’s a human experience. People aren’t dying the way they want to or having their wishes honored…so having a conversation like this is a gift you give your family.”

As another Boston chef, Jasper White, put it: “Love never dies. Neither do recipes, and it’s a wonderful way to remember someone.”

What family recipes mean a lot to you that you would like to share with us?

CNN, 4/18/16

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