Saturday Morning Message: BBQ, Apple Pie and other Foods that Remind Us of Love

Author: Carol Lane

Good Morning,

Sharing food that our loved ones liked is the topic for today’s Saturday Morning Message, because today is Culinarians’ Day. The opening picture comes from an article in the TAPS archives titled "Love in the Kitchen" written by Rita, mother of James Shawn. She writes that she and her son liked to cook enchiladas. They would put a variety of ingredients into the enchiladas, but other members of the family wanted only certain extras, so her son put a small flag into the one for him, so the others could tell the difference. I thought it would make a perfect picture for the beginning of this message.

Enchilada dish

The responses this week came from all over the country. I hope you enjoy reading them.

Carol Lane
Mother of Bryon

Responses from Survivors to last week's question

What is a favorite food your loved one liked and why was this dish special?

From Don, father of Joshua: Josh loved eating Chesapeake Bay Blue Claw crabs and beer to go with it. Growing up in Delaware and with the family he had, his love for crabs grew almost immediately. The beer came later. Our family would have several crab parties over the course of each summer and this equated to fun times for Josh growing up. For those who have not had the experience of picking crabs, there is an art to mastering the technique and Josh had it down at a very early age. As he grew older, this was the one food I knew I needed to figure out how to schedule into our short visits while he was on leave. We could sit for hours picking crabs and sharing stories about his life in the Navy, and subsequently, our lives while he was away. In fact, we just celebrated his 33rd birthday with a mini crab party. All that was missing was his physical presence. He was totally with us in spirit.... proof that love lives on.

From Kelsey, mother of Michael: Bear loved okonomiyaki, Hiroshima style. So did I. Okonomiyaki is a Japanese pancake including a variety of ingredients that are on hand. It's basically a trash plate in Japan. We never found it in America. We ate it many times in Japan. 

apple pie

From Leslie, mother of Eugene: Eugene made this scrumptious apple pie. When he graduated from Penn State University and moved to Annapolis, I gave him my treasured family recipe book. In there was his great grandmother’s famous apple pie recipe that she taught me and no one else in the family. It was special. He phoned to make sure what was in the recipe was really needed to make the pie. It turned out so well, he would make the pie to bring when invited to someone’s home for dinner. 

From Kitty, mother of John: John was a great BBQer. He grilled steaks (his favorite) and chicken served with his favorite mashed potatoes with gravy and corn. He also loved McDonald's or as he called it, Mickey Dee's. He would stop there after physical therapy and take home a Big Mac, fries and a large Coke. Dining out was rare, but a steak restaurant (Texas Roadhouse) was the choice. When we visit his widow, we celebrate and remember there.

Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message 

How do you display special things your loved one owned?

You never know what will prompt me to come up with a question for this message. Rachel, mother of Matthew, gave me the idea this week. She posted pictures of what she had done to display some of her son’s things along with the folded flag. I thought it would be interesting to use it as a question: How do you display special things your loved one owned? We look forward to your responses and pictures.

The Saturday Morning Message was created so survivors can share questions and read how others respond. Questions for future messages are always welcome. You can reply to this message or email In order to have your reply included the following week, it is best to send your response by Tuesday morning. Thank you to everyone responding this week and those who read this message.

♫ Song for the Week

This week’s song, "The Father, My Son and The Holy Ghost" sung by Craig Morgan, was sent by Leslie, mother of Eugene, who wrote, “You can’t stop listening to this beautiful song. It’s 9 1/2 years and I miss my son like it happened yesterday.”

You can send me favorite songs for this song of the week section at and include a note about why the song is meaningful to you.

Share Your Thoughts

If you would like to send a message thanking one or all of those who participated in this week’s Saturday Morning Message, send it to and your thoughts will be passed along to them. You never know how your words may touch the heart of another.

Related Stories


Rich in love and food: Pozole Verde

Christian grew up surrounded by a family rich in both love and food. Pozole became a family tradition.

roast beef

Taste the Love

One of my fondest memories was going to my grandmother's house and smelling the roast that had been cooking for hours.


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Visit the TAPS Online Community Calendar for this week's schedule of text and video chats and other offerings. We have a virtual gathering most days of the week. Whether you want to share your story or just read how other survivors are sharing and coping, this online grief support community is a way for you to develop and strengthen your connections with TAPS.

Other Items and Events of Interest

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Join Us for the Next Virtual Seminar

Please join us for our September Virtual Military Survivor Seminar, September 18 and 19. This two-day event will begin on Friday evening with Sharing Groups and conclude with a session on meditative movement. Activities begin at 2 p.m. Eastern on Saturday and will be presented at no cost to you. Our sessions will be led by experts in the field of grief and loss, offering opportunities for you to gain tools and resources. 


The TAPS National Military Suicide Survivor Seminar is going virtual. Held October 16-18, you will hear from others who have walked the road you are traveling. Sessions will offer vital information on anxiety, loss and family dynamics, talking to children and more. The grief that follows suicide loss can be uniquely complicated. You are not alone, and we invite you to join us for a time of hope and healing. 

Peer Mentor Training 

Looking for a chance to give back? You've been through the early days of grief and remember how connecting to TAPS was helpful to you. You remember when another reached out a hand to you to share the journey. Now you may be ready to help someone else. TAPS Peer Mentors are survivors who are 18 months beyond their loss and feel ready to be a companion to another. You may even find that opening your heart to another will offer you continued healing as well. Become a TAPS Peer Mentor.

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

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Did you lose your loved on due to an illness loss

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

Those who take the survey will receive a discount to the TAPS store for providing this important and valuable feedback. 

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AmazonSmile is a simple way for you to support TAPS every time you shop, at no cost to you. Visit, log in, and select TAPS as your charity of choice. Amazon will give 0.5% of your eligible purchases to TAPS.

About the Saturday Morning Message

The Saturday Morning Message (SMM) is a weekly communication; written and contributed to by survivors. The primary focus of the Saturday Morning Message is to foster peer-based connection for support and encouragement.  It is the goal of this communication to foster a safe, supportive atmosphere where we can openly share in a non-judgmental and caring manner. Read and contribute as you are comfortable, and explore any opinions/ideas shared that are most beneficial to you on your individual journey. Content submitted for inclusion in the Saturday Morning Message is edited for spacing considerations, grammatical corrections and may be used in other TAPS publications.  

To subscribe or contribute to the Saturday Morning Message email

If you ever need to speak to someone regarding an urgent matter or just need a listening ear, the loving family at TAPS is available to you 24 hours a day. Please feel free to contact TAPS at 800-959-8277.