I’m a 6’5” 18 year old male who only weighs 160 pounds. It might not seem like it, but I absolutely love to eat! That might have been one of my early attractions to the Columbia City FFA meetings where Mrs. Furthmiller and Mr. Kimmel never failed to provide a feast of delicious snacks. Food is an interesting thing. Food to me is something that is such a common item in American culture that we often overlook exactly what food does for each and every one of us. Food fosters relationships in ways we might not even notice.
For example, it reminds us of people. Whenever I see a cherry pie, I think of my great grandma Gene, whose cherry pie could knock your socks off. Suddenly, the aroma of warm cherries would bring back memories of my grandma sneaking us chocolates with a soft smile of mischief. That cherry pie is so much more than a sweet treat, but serves as precious memories.
Food can bring up images of places we’ve been and places we wish to return. If you know me, you know that I adore seafood. Every time I eat seafood, whether it be shrimp, salmon (my all-time favorite), mahi mahi, crab, scallops, or even calamari, I think of the breath taking coast of Topsail Island in North Carolina. That beautiful island is where my family spent a week together every other summer. In a similar way, sweet tea reminds me of home. As I’ve obviously left home this year, whenever I drink good sweet tea I think of my home in Whitley County. I don’t mean McDonald’s sweet tea, I mean a type of sweet tea that only my southern Indiana raised mama could make. You see I was raised in a home where there was always a cold pitcher of sweet tea in the fridge. Sweet tea makes me think of the home I love.
Food can mark special occasions! For my 18th birthday, my family went to the BoatHouse in Winona Lake, IN. If you are ever in the Warsaw area, you have to try it out! I remember exactly what I ate that night. I ordered the Bruschetta Pasta with chicken. I don’t remember that meal because it was the greatest meal in the world (even though it is hard to beat). I remember it because my whole family came together to wish me luck before I traveled to the State Officer Candidate Open House. Food creates memories that other things often can not.
This year has been full of food as well. Whether it was the midnight run to McDonald’s after State Officer Slate was revealed, or the trip to Waffle House in Arkansas, this year has been full of interesting moments, often surrounded by food. I remember the wonderful breakfast my grandparents made for the State Officer team before starting our journey around District 7. I vividly remember how flat out amazing the tenderloin was in Brook, IN where we ate at a restaurant called “Earl’s.” I kid you not, it was the best tenderloin I have ever had. If you’re ever in Newton County, look up Earl’s. Whenever we stop in Crothersville, we eat at a local café called “Lucille’s.” They have a spaghetti plate that will make you want to move to Jackson County just to eat it every day. The most memorable moments of this year have been surrounded by some sort of food.
Food also brings people together. Our team makes it a point to eat a majority of our meals around the kitchen table. Whether it is the mean Hamburger Helper I can cook up, or the amazing dishes of Sean and Josh, 7 random individuals have become best friends through the food we eat together. Food is a weird thing. It is a necessity in order to stay strong in our physical journey through life, but it adds something else as well. We become stronger not because of the food we eat, but because of the memories we create gathered around the table.
2015-2016 Indiana FFA State Northern Region Vice President