Hope As We Grieve…Over and Over

March 26, 2021

I don’t know about you but I am exhausted by grief. Just a few weeks ago, I was working in Italy, hosting groups, filming for Christina Cooks. It was a glorious time; my days of travel are the times I love the best. I live for gathering happy travelers around my table as we cook and feast together. As soon as I return home, I dream of my next trip.

I almost forgot the news, most all of it bad. Almost is the key word here, because of course, we all saw the tragic school shootings in Texas, in Chicago, in Philadelphia and countless other places in our country. My Italian friends all said, after Uvalde, “of course, now the laws will change. Babies are being shot in school.” Sadly, I told them no, nothing will change and nothing has changed. We passed a toothless gun law that only served to calm everyone’s nerves but have the shootings stopped? No, they have not. And yes, other countries have problems; people in mental health crises, but no other country suffers the terror of gun violence as we do.

I look out my window at my little city garden, a haven of greenery and flowers and I breathe easier, but there’s a deep sadness that is still ingrained in my…and all our psyches. The loss has been too great. The fear too deep and pervasive. I can hardly watch the news anymore. I have no tolerance for the horror; the cruelty; even petty meanness guts me in ways that don’t feel natural.

And I know it’s because it has become all too commonplace: the mass shootings that happen one upon the other; the daily violence we have come to think of as modern life; the loss; the grief; the stripping away of everyday people’s rights by a group of unelected people; a government that would rather insult and demean each other than actually do the job they were elected to do…govern.

Is there an answer, besides voting for a government that actually serves the needs and desires of the people? For me, I find comfort in my kitchen. Cooking has always been my life, but now it is my lifeline. It brings me endless calm to cook beautiful meals. I love sharing them with my husband. I share desserts I make with people I love to celebrate that we are alive and healthy. I know they are just cookies but for me, it says, “I know things are hard, but I am thinking of you.” It’s a tiny way of letting them know they are important. It’s a way of connecting, a way of reaching out. It’s my way of seeing how they are doing, to tell them that I value and love them.

It helps me and delights them.

Food inevitably connects us; nurtures us; sustains us. So let’s allow it to do so. Cook beautiful food with the robust flavors of summer ingredients. Sun-kissed tomatoes, crisp lettuce, new potatoes, peppery peppers, juicy zucchini, radishes, peaches, plums, berries, melons. These bold, sunny foods will lift you out of your funk and maybe, just maybe, we will revel in the pleasures of the season, when pleasure is so hard to find.

Take care of yourselves and each other. And always, always choose to be kind.