Monday, September 7, 2015


I spend a lot of time with my mother. This weekend is a good example. We are at our country house. We planned our getaway a week in advance. The discussion included not only when we would leave and come back, but if the dog was coming and what we should do about food.

A lot of our discussions are about food - a new recipe one of us tried or created, or which diet we are on and how that will influence eating in or going out for a meal.

Funny what pulls a family together. In our case - it is food. Every event is celebrated at a favorite restaurant or with a home cooked meal. Recipes are passed around and new cooking tips or methods shared.  It has transcended generations.

I remember my grandmother's chicken fricassee made with mini meatballs on my dad’s side and the mushroom and barley soup on my mom's side of the family.  I can taste them virtually to this day.

My mom is an amazing cook. She has made Chinese, French, American, Italian, Indian dishes and more.  She is also a fabulous baker. She can read a recipe and know what it will taste like. And while I don't like her curry dishes, others do.

Over the years, I have expanded my cooking skills and menu items. I make a mean lasagna and manicotti, tasty Chinese beef or chicken and broccoli, ribs and fried rice, juicy roast chicken with roasted potatoes and yummy beef or chicken stews. I can make tacos, burritos, roast or pulled pork, red or black beams and yellow rice. I can whip up sweet or savory crepes, donuts, biscuits and cookies in a flash. My friends think my various salads with homemade dressings are delicious. I am currently on a vegetarian eating plan.

My sister has been eating gluten free for a while. She has been sharing some of her food choices and enlightening me on the new food trend.

My younger daughter got into cooking around the age of 20. Before that, she knew how to make breakfast, but showed no real interest in learning more. Then one day, the cooking bug hit her. She started with chicken and beef stew, her two favorite dishes. Soon she was making Friday night dinner for the family. Her flavorings were delicious and inventive. Now that she's living on her own, friends are influencing her taste buds even more. She has made forays into vegan cuisine – making stews and pancakes, curry rice and tofu, Chinese dumplings and more.

My older daughter calls for a family recipe every so often - our pasta sauce, meatballs and most recently, our holiday pound cake with fresh fruit.

There is always something that ties families together. Food works for most. For adoptive families, this may include foods from a child's culture or heritage. Similarities in foods from different cultures also bond families: Chinese dumplings, kreplach, perrogies, ravioli or knishes. Pastellas, potato pancakes or mofungo. Paella, fried rice, rice and beans or risotto. Egg rolls, burritos or manicotti. Tacos, crepes or blintzes.

Think of your favorite foods and the memories they evoke. Think of the foods your family likes to eat. 

Food is a universal uniter. It can be used as a peace offering, get well expression or gift of love. Incorporating someone’s ethnic food in an event or meal is an act of acceptance and inclusion.  

Kathy Ann Brodsky, LCSW is a New York and New Jersey licensed social worker, adoptive mom and advocate for ethical adoption practice. She has prepared thousands of adoption homestudies, counseled adoptive parents and parents-to-be, and has trained professionals to work with adoptive families. She was Director of the Ametz Adoption Program from March 1992 to March 2015. She is Head Writer for, member of the Adoption Advisory Board of Path2Parenthood and has a private practice in New York City. She was a member of the Advisory Board for POV’s Adoption Series and named an “Angel in Adoption” by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption in 2001. Follow or reach her at ADOPTION MAVEN BLOG or EMAIL.