As the weather slowly warms up, families and friends tend to gather together. Whether it’s a holiday, vacation or weekend, we love to get together for one key reason: food.
From barbecues to dinner parties to brunches, food is a centerpiece for our gatherings. The lip-smacking meats, the comforting smell of warm breads and vibrant colors of exotic dishes all provide a feast for our senses. Food also stirs up warm feelings of home and wonderful memories of days past.
While growing up in my dad’s restaurant many years ago, I remember seeing how food brings people together. His recipes brought many a smile to faces and happiness to bellies. His place was filled with loud conversations peppered with laughter and shouts and screams at the games on TV. Mind you, this was a time of only three TV networks, AM radio and jukeboxes.
My father made sure the food was delicious and the atmosphere was relaxed. He often smiled and listened to the day-to-day worries of customers. I remember the regulars sometimes wouldn’t leave till closing — just talking and laughing through the night and bonding over a good meal.
This camaraderie is one of the things food does — it brings us together to share good times and special moments.
As we share the food, we often ask, “How did you make this?”, “What recipe did you use?” or the classic, “Can you give me the recipe?”
Over the years, I have been given recipes from my father, other family members and friends and shared likewise. As a foodie, I am always curious how flavors come together in a dish, so I hunt and collect a lot of recipes.
The following is one that has been in my family for a while and was eaten around Easter. I have modified the recipe from time to time, but I have stayed true to its purpose: easy cooking for those with little time to cook.
Crock-Pot Beef Stew
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 can of cream of celery soup
1 (2-3.5 pound) chuck roast, trimmed
1 or 2 potatoes, ½ inch slices
1 large yellow onion, ½ inch slices
1 zucchini, ½ inch slices
1 green bell pepper, cubed thick
1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
- Season heavily and brown chuck roast slices for about 6-8 minutes in hot skillet. Set aside to cool.
- Layer meat and other ingredients in 5-quart crockpot starting with meat at bottom, then potatoes, mushroom soup, onions, a few pieces of garlic and bell pepper. Repeat layering, adding and alternating celery soup or mushroom soup.
- Top layers with zucchini slices.
- Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until meat is tender.
- Remove meat and vegetables and serve with brown rice.
As this recipe brought my family and friends together, so can yours. Please share some recipes here with your fellow students and alumni to bridge the miles and enjoy our CSU family! Maybe a five-alarm chili, mouth-watering casserole or slap-yo-mama salsa, or whatever you like.
In the comment section below, please tell us about one of your recipes. You can add a photo if you want or just tell us why you love your recipe. Come on, we all want to know what you got cooking!
Anthony Cornealius is a communications specialist with Columbia Southern University.
Disclaimer: These testimonials may not reflect the experience of all CSU students.
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