Maybe it’s because my daughter just came back from college last week…
…but I’ve been thinking a lot about Coming Home Dinners, i.e. the meals we make for ourselves and each other that shout WELCOME BACK the loudest. In her book, Always Home, Fanny Singer writes, “There are a few things, or, I should say, a few dishes, that I associate with coming home after a long period away. The main one, of course, is Coming Home Pasta. Whenever my family left for a stretch of weeks…we would come home to our strange-feeling house and immediately set about orienting ourselves through food.”
Singer is the daughter of cookbook author and Chez Panisse icon Alice Waters, but using food as way to feel emotionally acclimated isn’t just for the professionals. When Joanna and I were emailing about this idea last week, she wrote, “When I came across Fanny Singer’s Coming Home Pasta, I got a little weepy. My mom always makes a roast chicken with roast potatoes. It’s the coziest meal in the world.” (I guess that’s why they call it comfort food.)
It doesn’t have to be something parent-made either. Kim makes sure her flights home to Oklahoma arrive before her favorite ice cream spot closes for the night. Then she drives there right from the airport. “I’m not home until I’ve had a fro-yo chocolate vanilla twist in a fresh waffle cone from Braum’s,” she says.
I didn’t have any single request when I returned from college, but my daughter, Phoebe, absolutely does: Salmon Salad, which she requests for just about every occasion, actually. My friend Naria’s daughter Sofie always asks for lasagna. When I asked my husband if he had a Coming Home Meal when he was a kid, without missing a beat, he said, “Yes. Breaded Pork Chops,” and got a faraway look in his eyes.
Do you have a Coming Home Dinner? One that someone makes for you or that you make for someone, even if that someone is yourself? I would love to hear what it is.
(Photo by Kirstin Mckee/Stocksy.)