AwareNow: Issue 28: The Mental Edition

Page 115

“My uncle (I think) said if you ever have someone mad at you, take them out to eat over a good steak - no one could be mad while eating a good steak.” ALLIÉ: Before you two began your journey together of cooking and creating, you were on paths of your own dealing with issues of your own. I wonder if each would share a story of a personal trauma you overcame that made you committed to mental health awareness.

MELENA: Mental health became a large pillar in my life around the end of 2019 and through 2020. I experienced a significant amount of unexpected loss during that time that threw me for a loop. On top of those losses and continued processing of childhood trauma, sexual trauma and other losses, I sprung into a depressive state I had never experienced. I couldn’t believe it was happening to me and that’s when I realized it can really happen to anyone.

NOAH: After a few bouts of suicidal ideation, I realized that the stressors, worries and experiences I had weren’t all that uncommon (not to minimize what I experienced) and a lot of people could be feeling how I was. The issue was I never talked about it and continued to sit in it without doing anything to help myself. After this, I recognized that people do need to put in the work to talk about it and get the help they need.

ALLIÉ: There is comfort in knowing you aren’t alone on your journey. There is also comfort in food. The term ‘comfort food’ exists for a reason. What is that reason? Why do you think ‘food’ is so comforting?

NOAH: Food always reminds me of something - the taste, smells, environment, etc. Specifically, my mom’s cooking. I love our taco rice bowl because it reminds me so much of something my mom made when we were growing up. My uncle (I think) said if you ever have someone mad at you, take them out to eat over a good steak - no one could be mad while eating a good steak.

ALLIÉ: The kitchen is referred to as ‘the heart’ of a home. Perhaps that’s why everyone ends up in the kitchen. No matter how extravagant the party or fancy the occasion, the best conversations are always had with food. What do you think it is about eating together that makes talking together so much easier?

MELENA: Like Noah said before, food makes people happy. They are in a state of enjoyment when eating it which might make them more at ease and vulnerable. It's also something people can bond over. A lot of times people need one common connection to start building a relationship.

ALLIÉ: Recognizing the opportunity that eating together presents, you two founded ‘Cooking for Comfort’ where you elevate awareness for mental health through events with food, of course. Love to hear details about your events and your food. 115 AWARENOW / THE MENTAL EDITION