Somebody Feed Joan – One Mom’s Food Talk

food talk stacey gustafsonBefore the pandemic, my mother and I talked about the latest literary books, my daughter’s upcoming nuptials and the health of various relatives.

But lately, our conversations are mainly Food Talk.

We speak on the phone or FaceTime daily. Conversations run from five minutes to an hour. But through it all, the core of our conversation is food talk.

Lunch Food Talk

I think I’m going to go mad.

If I call in the afternoon, I imagine her sitting on the living room recliner, frantically searching for the portable phone.

It’s time to talk about lunch.Somebody Feed Joan - A Mom's Food Talk Stacey Gustafson

Here’s a little sample.

“Hi mom. How are you doing?”

“I’m fine,” she says. “Did you eat yet?”


“What’d you make?”

“Empanadas from that place in San Francisco, El Sur.”

Then the Food Talk begins in a feverish frenzy.

“Can you send a picture?” she asks me.

I’ve been sending photos of each meal just on the off chance we can talk about it the next day.

Photos To Accompany Food Talk

The next question she asks is so predictable

“How do you make them?”

“In oven 400 degrees, 30 minutes,” I say.Somebody Feed Joan - A Mom's Food Talk Stacey Gustafson

Soon she launches into her own food talk.

Hey, woman, I didn’t ask. I still don’t care what you had to eat.

“I made delicious, fluffy, scrambled eggs for breakfast. Just add a little milk.


Dinner Food Talk

“I think I’m going to start a meatloaf for dinner,” Mom says.

It’s only 9:00 AM!

Here comes a blow-by-blow breakdown of each ingredient. Yeah.

“If you use a packet of Lipton Onion Soup mix it’s sooooo much better. I have some potatoes I can use as a side. Oops, forgot to mention I’m going to finely chop up a bunch of onions. That really makes it tasty.”Somebody Feed Joan - A Mom's Food Talk Stacey Gustafson

And on, and on, she drones.

Food Talk.

More and More Food Talk

Now it’s time in the conversation for me to get to my favorite subject, COVID. I’ve become quite the expert. It’s my new hobby during these unprecedented times. I’ve actually been interviewed, err, waiting for my interview from CNN.

“Mom are you being careful?” I ask. “Covid is worse than ever with the new variant.”

What’s with our elders? I swear those over 75 take the biggest risk. In my community, they’re the ones walking around mask less. I think seniors figure, hell, we’ve been through it all at our age. Covid ain’t nothing.

“Yes, I’m following all YOUR RULES,” Mom says.

“Remember to keep hand sanitizer in your car and a box of wet wipes. Avoid public restrooms.”Somebody Feed Joan - A Mom's Food Talk Stacey Gustafson

“I know, I know.”

“And mom,” I say, “do you need help figuring out how to get the vaccine?”

That launches into a help session about how to sign up for alerts from her states’ agency and local hospital websites. Seriously, our seniors can’t use the Internet. Where’s the helpline?

After ten minutes, she can’t handle it anymore and tries to change the subject. How do I know this? Because it’s always the same thing.

“How’s the dog?”

Our 14-year-old dog has been going downhill since the beginning of the pandemic. For a while he was barely eating ½ cup of food.

“He’s better.”Somebody Feed Joan - A Mom's Food Talk Stacey Gustafson

Wait for it.

“What’s he eating?”

Dog Food Talk

Dog Food Talk.

“That gross dog log that looks like bologna.”

“That’s good.”

I scramble to get off the phone but she beats me to it.

“I’ve got to go. Call you tomorrow. I want to hear about what you had for dinner.”

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