Our Rural Roots

Memory Filled Dishes

Image by Meredith Bernard

Food is my love language.

Give me good food, and, I’ll forever have good memories. With a whiff of cooked greens, I’m 12 again watching my Granny stand at the stove over a pot of collards picked from my Granddaddy’s garden, washed three times in the sink then crammed to overflowing in the pot liquor from a boiled Boston butt.

There were always peeled, whole white potatoes cooking alongside and a pan of corn bread in the oven. The smell of dinner would mix with the salty river air and fill the small summerhouse my farmer Granddad built.

Up to 14 of us would converge there every year. We made a thousand years of memories over a table mixed with a million laughs, a bowl full of collards, a pitcher full of sweet tea and jadeite plates hugging all the fixings.

While my grandparents aren’t here to eat or laugh with anymore, I have a few pieces of my Granny’s Fire King jadeite nestled in my cupboard. Every use takes me back--back to her table, simpler times and sweet memories. Many a tear has been wiped over my sink while washing and wiping that milky-green glassware.

Because food is never just food any more than time with loved ones is just time spent. Special times with special people around a table are one of the sweetest parts of life. Having those reminders and being able to share the memories, and make new ones with my own family make the dishes all the more special.

My collection continues to grow because it brings me joy, and, joy is always worth collecting. It makes me smile to think of passing along these green jewels to my children. One day, they’ll sip coffee, eat greens and corn bread (like their mama and Granny made), and savor the sweet memories.

Meredith Bernard writes about farm life on her website (thisfarmwife.com) and is active on Twitter (@thisfarmwife).


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