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Letter from the Editor

Stacy Jagodowski
Letter from the Editor

Food is familiar, it can bring comfort in times of need, remind us of home, and help us discover a place where we belong. Each year, students come to Tabor from near and far to embark on a new adventure. Some will be armed with care packages from home filled with comfort foods, while others will look forward to heading home in the evenings for a favorite meal. Nerves might cause some students to wonder, who will I sit with at lunch, will I fit in? But, inevitably, everyone will venture to the dining hall, find a seat, and share a meal with friends, old and new. 

For many of us, food is more than just something that sustains life; it is personal, a part of our heritage and family. My family is a mix of cultures, and I’m a slightly different mix than everyone else. You see, I’m adopted, something I’ve always thought was cool, like I had a secret life waiting to be discovered. My adoptive family is my real family, no question; I know I am where I’m supposed to be in life. Yet, there have been times when I wonder if I really fit in, if I belong. Fortunately, I always arrive back at a resounding “yes, I belong here,” thanks to family, a shared connection, and, yes, food.

No matter how I look at my life—biological or real/adopted—I am half Polish. That connection, and the food I’ve come to love as a result, has brought both meaning and identity to my life.

I love to bake, and so did my Coici Vera (coici is Polish for aunt). She was known for her pies at the holidays, made in floral pie plates with dangerously high mounds of whipped cream. We love to tell stories of her yelling at my uncle, in her thick Polish accent, for driving too fast from one house to the other, fearful that the whipped cream would fly off the pies and onto the passengers. We’d enjoy the sweet treats, hopefully with the whipped cream still atop, after we feasted on our spread of pierogies and kielbasa — more was always served, but those were my favorites. The food brought comfort and kinship, and around the table, it was clear that we were all family, there was never a question.

Whenever I get those fleeting thoughts of, do I belong, I remind myself that family isn’t always about DNA. For me, family is about our lives together and our shared experiences. Whether we’re fixing a meal or feasting on one, I feel like I belong when we’re all telling stories about cooking disasters thanks to spoons in blenders, pots melted to stoves, and epic family food fights in the summer. When I can’t be with my family, I might share a box of paçzki (donuts) with my friends, remember a birthday dinner of my mom’s golumpkis (stuffed cabbage) with freshly picked Silver Queen corn from dad’s garden, or I’ll bake a chocolate cream pie and think of Cioci Vera. Each simple act serves as an important way to remind myself that, yes, I belong.

At Tabor, we want everyone to find their place, their way in which they belong. In the pages of this magazine, I hope you’ll enjoy these savory stories about Tabor and the people who found friends, fun, and food at Tabor. We share memories of traditions, old and new, and chronicle the history of dining places, delectable learning spaces, and alumni with tasty workplaces. 

May you always find joy in connecting, laughing, and bonding over a shared meal and find comfort in knowing that no matter where we come from, we belong.