The kitchen counter separates me and my grandma. There’s an assortment of food on the surface; venison steaks, rutabaga, carrots, and cabbage.
She dices the food up into small cubes and circles, handing the large mountains to me. I pick up the mountains, pouring them in a pot of boiling water sitting on the stove next to me.
The air fills with a with a fresh earthiness you can only get from a meal made from garden veggies.
The barn cats are the first to show up. They gather at the glass doors, begging for a slice of venison or a taste of the broth.
My uncles and grandfather smell it next. They’re working outside, putting new shingles on the garage roof. Their noses take to the air, bellies rumbling as they crawl down the ladder and hurry into the kitchen.
“Smells good,” Uncle Tom says. He reaches for a slice of rutabaga but grandma slaps his hand with a towel. “Go wash up,” she scolds fondly.
My uncles and grandpa rush off to the bathroom and grandma starts filling bowls. I set them around the dining room table.
I take a seat once everything is ready. I’m surrounded by slurping as my family members dig in and my belly grumbles, urging me to eat too.
I pop a spoonful in my mouth, body instantly warming from the broth. It is stew but it tastes like the Earth, love, and home.