September 25, 2009

In the mail

In our family, we think that you can mail just about anything. I have gotten rocking chairs, an air conditioner, and pecan pies in the mail – and once, a whole set of bent wood lawn furniture. My mama mails me a lot of things. So when I came home and found a package from her, I was pleased but not surprised, at least not until I opened it. It was full of fresh North Carolina okra, cut by my daddy and sent off to me “up north.”

I cooked it the way we do at home: roasted with a little olive oil in a very hot oven and then sprinkled with sea salt. As soon as I took the first bite, I was transported in my mind to our kitchen table. It was a taste of home, so good, so fresh, so precious.

Food is necessary for life, of course, but it is not just nourishment for the body. It also feeds the soul and strengthens the ties to those we love. The okra is more than a vegetable; it is a love letter from home.

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