Sharing A Meal Together

Mobile Pantry turnipsAt a recent Senior Mobile Pantry distribution in Greencastle, I had the opportunity to assist with bagging and distributing fresh produce to nearly 150 families. That day’s distribution included amazing fresh peaches…and turnips.

Guess which item I was charged with bagging and distributing? That’s right – the turnips! Admittedly, I’m not a turnip fan. In fact, many vegetables are an acquired taste to me. As I opened the large bags of turnips and packed a dozen or so into smaller bags for distribution, I wondered how many people would really want the turnips.

It turns out that people have a love/hate relationship with turnips. Some were excited to see them and asked for extra bags (I said yes!). Other seniors turned up their nose and said that they had eaten so many turnips when they were young that they couldn’t stand them now.

As the morning went on, I realized that while everyone didn’t want a bag of turnips, they were all happy to share stories and recipes. They talked about how their mothers and grandmothers prepared them. They told me stories about eating them straight from the ground during the depression. One woman proudly told me that she was 81 years old and that she always made turnips the way her own grandmother made them for her, “fried with a lot of butter and a little dab of bacon grease.”

On the way back to my own family in Fishers, it struck me that food really does connect us. Even things we don’t care for may bring back a memory of a loved one or family gathering. We might recall birthday parties, family reunions or a visit with a dear friend.

Regardless, sharing a meal together is one of the most cherished aspects of family life. The foods we lovingly prepare bind us with common experiences. I learned from the people of Greencastle, that even the lowly turnip has the power to evoke memories long forgotten, but still dear.
- Sarah Estell, Senior Director of Marketing and Digital Strategy