Saturday Morning Message: Favorite Foods

Author: Carol Lane

Good morning,

This week survivors wrote about the favorite foods of their loved ones. In addition, I thought it would be fun to share an article written by Marissa Donovan titled "Easy Fall Foods to Keep Your Spirits Up." The article includes some new recipes that look like they might be fun, like these Jack-O-Lantern stuffed peppers. Sometimes we find comfort in preparing the foods that have been a tradition, and other times it is better to find some new ideas. In this way, the Saturday Morning Message gives you choices. Thanks for all who responded this week and those who read the message.

Jack-O-Lantern Peppers

Is there something on your mind and you would like to hear how others cope? By sharing coping strategies, together we become stronger. Please send me your questions for future Saturday Morning Messages. You are an integral part of this weekly connection. You can also submit favorite songs that are meaningful to you.

You never know how your words may touch the heart of another. I encourage you to reply to the Saturday Morning Message by emailing I directly receive all responses that are sent to this address. Since next week will be Thanksgiving week, please send your reply by Monday, Nov. 21.

If you would like to send a message thanking one or all of those who wrote this week, send it to me and I will make sure your thoughts are passed along to them.


Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message

We were talking on one of the Tuesday online chats and the topic came up about what we do to honor our loved ones. One person heard about a survivor who knits things for children born in the local hospital. Everyone thought that would be a good question for the Saturday Morning Message, so the question this week is: What do you do or what would you like to do to honor your loved one? Your work may inspire others. We look forward to reading your thoughts even if they are only in the idea phase right now.

Song for the Week

Patricia, mother of Kyle, sent the song this week, which is "The Wind Beneath My Wings" sung by Bette Midler. Patricia wrote, “Sometimes on days like today, I think of him and it reminds me of how much he has meant to me.”

Answers from Survivors

From Robert, father of Louis: Lou and I would work together on his deck and had Bratz which is Bratwurst, a German sausage, great on a hotdog roll, and Labatts afterward. It took me more than five years to be able to have that. Not the greatest fare in the world, but it was to us.

Still miss him terribly, especially on days like today.

From Leslie, mother of Eugene: My son liked to eat, especially when his brother graduated culinary school, but he loved my meatballs with baked ziti even more than the fancy dishes his brother could make from what seemed like nothing in the refrigerator. I was never sure he loved them because I made them or he loved them because his amazing Nani taught me how to make meatballs and sauce before I married his father. Nevertheless, that would be the food he wanted on leave.

From Merry, mother of Wesley: Wes really liked a "stuffed meatloaf." It was a meatloaf mixture in an 18x12 inch shape, spread with mashed potatoes, which included spinach and spices. It was then rolled up into a log shape and baked. One complete meal! The family liked it, too.

From Laura, mother of Nathaniel: Nathan was a foodie and loved to cook and eat everything in moderation, of course, but the one food that was special to us both are peanut butter cookies. They weren’t his favorite (I know he enjoyed them all), but they are mine. He’d often asked me to bake him some. Many times I’d received random text requests stating, “Madre, cookies.” To which I’d reply, “On their way.” I baked them fresh when he was in town. Because he lived in California the past few years, I’d order and ship some to him. I stocked up on Girl Scout cookies nearly every season just for him.

Now I include peanut butter cookies in new and recurring family traditions or I share them at potluck events simply to remember the love, honor his life and share the journey, internally.

From Bonnie Jo, mother of Andrew: Well, who does not like potatoes, mashed or scalloped or fried?

My son was a potato master since he was about 5 years old. He loved peeling them and actually taught his whole first-grade class how to do it. The teacher was so NOT happy when I went in there with Andy and five potato peelers. I guess she thought the kids were going to cut themselves for our joint parent/teacher Thanksgiving feast where the teacher did most of the work! Andy and I worked the classroom and no kid got cut, in fact, they loved it.

So, every year after, even when Andy came home from his first tour in Afghanistan and was able to spend that part of the holiday with us, he got a pile of potatoes to peel and cook and mash — so funny! He brought home his girlfriend, who was Asian, for Thanksgiving and she had never peeled a potato or even eaten one, so Andy showed and taught her how to do that.

Hey, it was a fun time for the family. Also, why not try this year the latest trend of cauliflower and mashed potato, healthier and so tasty, add a bit of cheese also. Happy holidays to all.

Other Items and Events of Interest

Caregiver to Survivor Program banner

TAPS recognizes the urgent need to support families who have lost a military loved one after having been a caregiver. The leading cause of death of our military loved ones is reported by survivors to be illness, but we know there are many survivors that experienced a loss after having cared for a loved one who was traumatically injured or diseased as well. 

At TAPS we understand, and we’re here to support our survivors as they navigate a grief journey that may have begun even before the death of your loved one. And, we are mindful of the differences present when someone has been a caregiver before they have transitioned to a survivor. The Caregiver to Survivor Program was developed with this in mind. 

We invite you to explore our resources and encourage you to reach out for support and take advantage of this exciting new program. 

▶▶  Connect With Other Survivors of Illness Loss

Join with other caregivers who supported their loved one through a devastating illness. Honor and share your loved one, the emotions, issues and challenges facing bereaved caregivers. Regardless of the circumstance or geography of the death, you are welcome in the TAPS Caregiver Support Chat. 

Caregiver to Survivor Chat
Wednesday, May 19
8:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Eastern
We hope to see you there!

▶▶  Connect With Your TAPS Family 

You can discover all the opportunities to connect with your TAPS Family on our website at the TAPS Event Calendar.

Did you lose your loved one due to an illness?

Illness Loss Survey

If your military loved one suffered with a wound, illness, or injury, please consider taking our new Illness Loss Survivor Survey, so TAPS can honor your loved one through our advocacy efforts. 

If you took the survey last year, we ask that you retake it as we've made important updates. Your response could help shape policy and legislation, and direct future TAPS programs and services. To learn more, email

About the Saturday Morning Message

The Saturday Morning Message (SMM) is a weekly communication contributed by survivors. The primary focus of the SMM is to foster peer-based connections for support and encouragement. It is the goal of this communication to foster a safe, supportive place where we can openly share in a nonjudgmental and caring manner. Read and contribute as you are comfortable. Content submitted for the SMM is edited for space considerations and may be used in other TAPS publications. The loving family at TAPS is available to you 24 hours a day. Please call 202-588-TAPS (8277).