Food is one way that we might honor, celebrate and connect with those now gone and the community of family and friends who love them. Long-time culinary artist and Memphis native Levita Mondie, Owner of Vita’s Vegan Ventures, finds communion with those now gone, specifically her mom and grandmother both in the kitchen and more recently in her garden. Both allow her to stay connected to and celebrate her mom and her grandmother. Both cooking and gardening are also important sources of solace, healing and restoration for Levita as she, like so many of us, grapples with the recurring loss of life in our communities to Covid-19 and as a result of state-sanctioned violence. All while mothering two dynamic, creative college-aged young women.
With Levita as our inspiration, teacher and guide, we encourage you to consider cooking and gardening as vehicles for intentionally and creative entering sacred communion both with those now gone and those dear to you, family and friends. Here are some ways you might use cooking and gardening to experience community while also connecting with those now gone:
- Consider convening your loved ones together (virtually) to break bread together in celebration of those now gone, specific family members or friends.
- Start a small garden like Levita did with her daughters Yetunde and Niara that includes stones that are labeled with the names of your ancestors.
- Come together as a family and make a meal for your ancestor(s) to place on your ancestral altar.
- Spend time being aware and mindful of nature to see what messages those now gone might be sending you. Perhaps, you will see some red birds when are feeling blue.
Try Levita’s Culinary Delights
Herbs have been a very important cornerstone of Levita’s urban garden oasis in Washington, DC’s historic Anacostia neighborhood and in her drinks and dishes. Try making Vita’s herbal lemonades and sharing it with members of your family or your beloved community of friends. Each recipe includes the medicinal properties of the primary ingredient, lavender, ginger and strawberries, respectively.
Or, try your hand at Levita’s Most Recent Herbal Drink made with dried Asian Pigeonwings aka Clitoria Ternatea.
And, for dessert, why not try making some of Levita’s scrumptious vegan black bean brownies:
Levita is currently working on her culinary memoir that reflects her long-time passion for cooking and gardening as resources for healing and restoration.