family matters


First thing: here are a few of sites passed along to me that I pass along to you. I will eventually add them in the left hand column as permanent links as well.

Public Health International
Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PADS)
Marshfield Food Pantry
Interfaith Hospitality Network
Community Homeless Alliance Ministries (CHAM)
“Rainstoppers”: First Christian Church of San Jose

As you will see, some are local, some are national, some are worldwide. All of them are doing hands-on good stuff.

And now for something completely different: my in-laws are coming, which means we have been in a cleaning frenzy for the last forty-eight hours (we had a lot to clean up). They live in Birmingham, Alabama and rarely get the chance to see snow, so this year they planned their visit in the dead of winter. Some of the snow from the storm still survives, despite the last few days being unseasonably warm; the weekend promises to be frigid, which sends me thinking about what to cook while they’re here.

I’ve got a couple of things in mind — they’re here for several days, but the two I’m going to leave with you are of the “comfort food” variety: Uncle Milty’s Guinness and Chocolate Chili (you read it right) and Banana Pudding (for my father-in-law).

When Ginger and I began dating, it didn’t take me long to realize different families had both different attitudes and traditions towards food. I’m a cook because my mother made the kitchen the warmest room in the house. Every meal was an event. If she was making sandwiches, the mayo and mustard were put in bowls on the table; she would never think of just plunking down the jar. We all sat down for a meal. I described the difference to Ginger this way: my family thought meal time was an event; her family ate so they didn’t die.

Over the years, part of the tradition that has grown up as I have become a part of the Brasher clan is I cook when we are together. The fun part for me is they think I’m some sort of magician in the kitchen. My mother-in-law, who loves to learn more than anyone I know, sits at the counter and asks great questions. If I ever lack for affirmation, all I have to do is sit down at the table with them and they make me feel like the greatest chef in the world.

As you can see, I’m glad they’re coming.

Growing up overseas, I missed out on knowing what it felt like to be a part of an extended family and to feel like you were a part of something beyond the people that lived in your house. The Brashers are thick with cousins and kin and they welcomed me as if I had been a part of the mostly crazy bunch from the beginning, which is truly a gift. When Ginger and I married, we both took each other’s last names (thus the Brasher-Cunningham). Now, nearly sixteen years into our marriage, I feel as much Brasher as I do Cunningham; I have grown into my name much like Jacob wrestled with becoming Israel, or Abram learned to become Abraham.

My family is coming. What better place to meet them than around the table.



  1. Milton – great post…I’ll confess, with some shame, that your relational musings grabbed me harder than the challenge to give up chocolate. i’ll get there, i’m sure…but today it blessed me just to read of your interaction with your family.

    makes me want to cook something. the kitchen is my favorite room in the house.

    banana pudding this weekend, for sure!

  2. Beth

    I can tell from reading your blog why the relational stuff connects; it feeds me differently than the more confrontational stuff as well. And they’re connected. When I read about your kids, I think about a kid like just like them who is a slave. That’s why it grabs me.


  3. Milton,

    I missed this post when you originally posted it… I think I got lost in the Chili recipe and did not read the post. I came back to grab the recipie for my weekend cooking plans.

    What a marvelous tribute to the wonder of family.

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