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Family and Food

Certain foods trigger memories for entire families.

It’s amazing how food really connects us. Families pass recipes down from generation to generation like jewels. Certain foods remind us of loved ones or of places or special times in our lives. Food is more than just sustenance; it’s a way to remember family. What do you do when someone has lost a family member? You bring food because it shows you care.

One food that bonds my extended family together is apples. A few years ago, my dad’s first cousin, John Foust, passed away unexpectedly. He was a CPA with a law degree, but he never lost his passion for his ag roots. 

John had a farm close to where he grew up in south-central Iowa, and he was working on that farm when he died. “At least he was doing something he loved,” was an observation heard over and over again at his funeral. That knowledge seemed to bring comfort to his wife, Mary, sons Brian and Michael, and their wives and children. 

After the funeral, we went to Michael’s house for lunch and fellowship. When we walked in the door, we were greeted by several bushel baskets full of Golden Delicious apples, along with a sign explaining that John had picked these very apples on his farm just a few days before he passed. 

One cousin said this was the first year the relatively new trees really produced, and they were loaded with fruit. In the middle of the baskets, the family had placed several fabric bags, with an invitation for visitors to take a bag of apples with them. What a generous idea!

On the dessert table, there were pans of apple crisp, along with more signs that said, “Made with love and John’s apples.” Again, how generous of the family to share this precious fruit. 

At the luncheon, cousins caught up with cousins, stories of John were shared, and his apples were enjoyed. 

When I left, I took a few apples home for my boys, and my mom gathered a bagful. The next day, she turned them into two apple pies: one for her and my dad; one for me and my family. 

We “toasted” John with our slices of pie and enjoyed them all the more, knowing his hands had picked the very fruit we were eating and that it had been a labor of love.

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