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Some people eat only in order to survive-they get no real enjoyment out of food, while others live to eat, and I am not talking gluttony. Food can be an experience.

When my children started traveling with us, my first rule was we couldn’t eat anywhere on a vacation that we could eat at home—which ruled out all the fast food restaurants and chains. It made us eat local fare and expanded our food horizons.

Many of us have an emotional connection with food—look at the popularity of the Food Network and the wealth of cooking shows and competitions. For me it is not just about eating—it is about creating something unique, discovering a new method or way to cook something

and serving others. I truly love to cook for people. It has been said that food is love—and for many of us feeding others is a way to show you care about them.

Think about the south. If someone is sick or dies, what is the first thing we do—we send food. When I had breast cancer surgery, I could have opened up a homeless shelter to feed people with the amount of food we received, but it was an outpouring of love and support, more than just the casseroles.

It is part of our culture. There are certain recipes that are passed down from generation to generation, and serving them or eating them brings back such good memories. Sometimes we eat things because it is superstition or good luck—I eat pickled herring (which I loathe) every year at midnight on New Year’s Eve –in part to honor my mother and father who passed down the tradition, and in part to ensure good luck! We eat pork, cabbage and black-eyed peas every New Year’s Day—I added the black-eyed peas after I married, since that was not our family tradition, but it now is.

Food connects us with each other.

What would a celebration be without food—from weddings to birthday parties, family reunions, and funerals, food plays a role. You do have to eat to survive, so finding time to eat a meal with others—whether it is a hot dog at the local ball park or a gourmet meal, the community act of sharing a meal brings joy—at least to me. While good food is definitely a huge plus, the main purpose for me is connecting with others. I am blessed that I come from a long line of women who loved to cook and entertain, and both of my children are carrying on the tradition as well—entertaining and sharing meals often with friends.

Our supper club has a ongoing tradition of eating monthly together and we relish it.

We have some amazing foods most months, and tonight was no exception.

But we sometimes don't just see each other once a month--last night some of us went to 2nd Friday Night Art together and had dinner at Rebel Kettle Brewery.

We had a nice meal but the conversation was the best!

But it isn't just my friends from supper club. I was pleased to be included in a women's luncheon in Ferndale this week where we not only ate a lovely lunch, but talked gardening as well.

Not only was the food divine and the company and discussion great, but the table setting was over the top.

Some of us like to entertain and have people over, while others would stress out on that. It doesn't matter if you have people over or you go out or you just are one-on-one, share a meal every now and then, and connect with others.

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