I can still remember the conversation like it was yesterday. My husband came home one day and “casually” asked me if I would ever consider moving to Oregon. My family is from New York originally, but most of my life, we lived in Minnesota. My husband and I were living in Minnesota at the time, and his job prospects were not good. Thinking it was a long shot, I flippantly agreed. Sure, I would move to Oregon. Why not? This plan hinged on my father-in-law convincing the four partners of his firm that when he quit his job, the best person to replace him would be his son-my husband-who would move nearly 2,000 miles to accept this position. It would never happen in a million years right?
After just a brief phone interview, my husband was offered the job. We had two weeks to pack up our lives and leave everyone we knew to move to Oregon. His father would be offered a job in Spokane, Washington nearly 7 hours north of us…and they would become the closest friend or relative to our new home. In a flash, we left our old lives behind, along with all our family and friends.
Thankfully, my parents fly standby and so they are able to fly out to visit on occasion. I know people who move far from their families and are unable to travel to visit them. Especially if they are in another country. I am only second generation American on one side (my Irish side) and third generation on the other (Greek and Italian) so I have had relatives only recently coming to this country from their home land. Now I am beginning to understand how hard it is to be so far from “home”.
The homesick feeling is especially strong during the holidays. In fact, since my miscarriage in November, I have been especially vulnerable to the feelings of isolation and missing my extended family. One thing that helps though is food. “Comfort” foods aren’t the same for everyone…sure there are the perennial favorites like mac and cheese, but to me comfort foods are foods that remind me of home, or foods that remind me of my late Nana. Nana (my mom’s mom) was 100% Greek and the taste and smell of Greek food always reminds me of home.
This video from Western Union really hit home for me, not only because these people were separated from their families by many miles, but also because the woman from turkey talks about her native dish dolmas.
Dolmas (or dolmades) are also made in Greece, though the filling varies slightly from region to region, and my Nana used to make them for me all the time. It’s a dish my mother loves as well, and so its something that makes me think of the two of them whenever I eat them.
Check out the video. If it doesn’t tug at your heartstrings, you might need to see a cardiologist!
I got choked up when she mentioned the dolmas, but when the woman receives the plane ticket to Brazil, I literally started bawling. Such a beautiful thing to share…money can make it hard to be close to family, but the chance to see your loved ones who are far away truly is priceless!
Food is such an important part of cultural identity, whether its ethnic cuisine from your native country, or regional delicacies from your corner of the United States.
So tell me, where does your heart belong? Do you live somewhere far away from your extended family? Do you help support relatives in another state or country?
What foods remind you of home?
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