imagesIn my family growing up, if someone came to your door at night and you did not have enough food to generously welcome them to your dinner table, you had committed a mortal, Serbian sin, punishable by death. It was inconceivable to cook only enough for just yourself. It was, in fact, shameful to do so. What if a hungry stranger showed up, and you couldn’t offer them nourishment? Abundance was the operative principal. More was always better.

I am a single woman now, and I still I cook in ridiculous amounts–just in case. You never know who might stop by. “Please, come in. Eat. I have plenty to spare.” This runs deep; I can’t help myself. To do otherwise feels like operating from a place of scarcity, and that is not my way. This attitude permeates everything I do, to an almost ridiculous degree.

When I lived on the farm I convinced my husband that we should plant more than we could eat so we would have plenty to give away at any given moment when people dropped in. We had a pumpkin patch and grew enough to supply every school child in the county during their field trips to our land each October. We charged them fifty cents a pumpkin–not a money-maker–but it was great fun, and I loved seeing the field splashed in orange globes, always enough for everyone, and more. . .

And I had a thing about watering the plants. Definitely more was always better. We had a monster pump that brought water from a pond to irrigate the field. I couldn’t start it myself so was dependent on my husband to crank it up. I’d say, “Okay, I believe it is time to water this evening.” Then I’d watch as he’d amble down to the field, stick his finger in the earth, and if he could feel even a little bit of moisture there, he would decide that we could wait another day or two. This made me a crazy woman, and I would shout, “You don’t wait for the plants to start wilting–showing signs of deprivation–before you care for them! Give them lots of water, so they will never struggle. That’s what every living thing needs to reach its full potential. Give. Give. Give. More is best!

However, over the years, I have watched others who are minimalists–believing less is best–and that works for them. There is nothing wrong there; I am willing to admit that now. I have come to realize that our comfort zones and styles in life are fundamentally informed at a very young age, and we cannot be other than whom we authentically are. There it is and it’s all good.




  1. This is a great post. It also filled me with wonder because I was pondering if this behaviour is linked to a certain… I dunno, ‘tradition-devoted’ time period. My Mum seems to be very much the same with the excess of food. But then it’s hard to say as she also had to feed a big family. Now we’re all older and most of my siblings elsewhere, she’s still doing these big shops at the supermarket.

    It’s funny because – due to this, I have grown up with the opposite habit, I will always buy ALMOST enough. I passionately hate food being wasted, so when me and my Mum go shopping together, I’ll keep trying to take things out of the trolley as she keep trying to put them back in!!!

    It’s interesting, because your habit seems to be very strongly linked to the virtue of generosity. You must be a very giving person! Which of course isn’t a bad thing. You seem to have a strategy worked out for if you do end up with too much, which is great. Oh, and I also thought that more is best when it comes to water, until I realised they could drown, just like a human being =( That set me straight! I’ve got this beautiful Kalanchoe house plant and the lady in the shop made sure to tell me, ‘it doesn’t like its feet wet!’ so I made sure not to overwater it. I’m starting to connect with the saying ‘Everything in moderation’.

    Ahh this post made me nostalgic. Thanks for sharing!


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