There is something delightful about creating in the kitchen, sugar, flour, and spices floating in the air.
My mother was a good cook. She learned from her mother. I was invited into her expetise when I was young, and I enjoyed the whole process. I tried to grasp her technique and how mother’s dishes always tasted so delicious.
Sugar, butter and bacon grease.
I like fixing a pot of soup in the crock pot. Usually what is currently in the refrigerator and freezer is what goes in the pot. The chopping of vegetables and seasoning with herbs from my garden patch in the early morning is a promise of deliciousness as the aroma fills the house.
I’ve been very domestic since my recovery. I guess I’ve missed the creativity of the kitchen. I made Irish soda bread for the first time, to go with the leftover soup. Hot from the oven and slathered with butter, it was scrumptious.
Mother was right about the butter.
The act of cooking and eating is about sustenance of course. We have to eat to live. It can become mundane and habitual as we fix three meals a day and then clean up the resulting mess of pots and pans. I often feel as if my life is being lived out in the kitchen.
Some of us live to eat and relish finding a new restaurant or trying Pinterest recipes. I admit to having an old fashioned recipe box containing index-sized cards, spattered and stained from my concoctions. They are the tried and true. I have tested them and found them good, worthy of returning to regularly.
I baked a pie last week and invited the neighbors who live in the house next door. Our quiet dwelling was soon filled with the noise, the talking and laughter, of people we love. Add cups of steaming coffee rich with cream and it was a party.
The littlest neighbor, just two-year-old, was not so interested in the food. He was content with the gently-used matchbox cars, the ones collected years ago and loved by two generations of boys.
Food brings people together. It offers a welcome of friendship. It brings comfort and fills us in more ways than just the physical.
The taste of soup and fresh bread, of an apple pie fresh from the oven embodies the warmth of hearts joined in fellowship.
Around the table we talk about the weather, the latest news, and our current projects. At times we go deeper into what concerns us, the decisions we must make, and how life is challenging.
And maybe, just maybe we open our hearts and reveal our true selves. We laugh and we cry. We listen deeply and we carefully craft our words to encourage rather than instruct. It becomes more than mere conversation. It becomes communion.
At the table we are enriched and fed.
Scripture records Jesus feeding people and being fed by them. His humanity was revealed by the mere fact that he also needed nourishment for his body. It was at the Passover table where he shared bread and wine with the disciples and opened his heart with final words before his death on the cross.
After his resurrection, he prepared fish over coals of fire on the shores of Galilee, inviting his friends once again. It was a time of restoration and healing for them.
There is something to the idea of comfort food. Because sometimes the present trial is hard and the future is unsure. We wonder how we are going to face the days ahead or endure our disappointments today. The taste of something delicious, especially when it is shared, brings us back to this moment. Right here. Right now.
This moment is what we have. This day, this hour. And when we gather at the table, we can eat and be filled. We are refreshed, revived, and strengthened for the journey.
Gather at the table. It only takes a loaf of bread. Or maybe a freshly baked pie.