If there is one thing that unites the Hance family, it’s family dinner. The only rule is that you show up hungry with no cell phone in hand.
Raquel Hance, the chef of the Hance residence, finds a lot of comfort in cooking.
For Hance, cooking has represented more than just feeding the family. It has served as therapy for her as her family has navigated the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I learned everything I know about cooking from my mom,” she explains. “I especially made it my mission to continue learning and cooking for everyone after she passed in 2018. That is what she was known for and we have stacks and stacks of her recipes still, probably hundreds at this point.”
She flips through a giant white binder of everything from fish to baked goods.
A classic go-to for Saturday night dinner?
Chicken Francaise, pasta and garlic bread.
“We’ve been stuck at home. We’ve eaten every meal together for the last couple months. Through the good days and the bad, the kitchen is where we spend most of our time. It’s given me something to do. I put a lot of my love into the recipes,” Hance says.
During the first week of quarantine in March 2020, the Hance family lost two family members within one week.
In the middle of the Hance family’s kitchen island stands framed photos of those loved ones.
A grandmother, brother and dad.
“My mom was everything for the family. She taught us how important things like a meal together was and we all ate together every Sunday. Losing my brother and dad in the same week when this pandemic started was yet again another blow we had to deal with. I still am trying to comprehend it,” she shares.
Even though the dining room table has less chairs occupied during Sunday dinners, the love of the household still remains strong.
As Hance takes her chicken francaise out of the oven, her gentle demeanor can be felt and feels like the secret ingredient that brings the meal to life.
“Life doesn’t stop even though tragedy makes it hard to go on. We still have to come together and what better time than family dinner to be there for one another?” Hance smiles.
The family can still be found sharing a laugh and reminiscing on memories no matter what is thrown at them.
Disclosure: Special thanks to Raquel Hance for featuring in my article. Raquel Hance is the stepmother to Devin Hance, the author of this article.