Monday, January 12, 2009
Love You With Food
I baked this weekend. Saturday morning, Teagan and I made banana-blueberry muffins. I'd earmarked the recipe and bought the missing ingredients (frozen blueberries and wheat germ) the weekend before. Then I saw that Mrs. 4444 Cooks had made the same muffins and I took it as a sign that I needed to get on it. I took pictures of the entire process. I haven't loaded the pics yet... and my kitchen has horrible lighting so they aren't the best pictures. I'd love to become a better food photographer. We made a dozen muffins and ate 6 of them over the weekend. I ate 2, Jeff ate 1, Teagan ate 1, Zach ate 2. I brought the remaining 6 to work. Last night, I decided that the bag of Ghirardelli semi-sweet morsels sitting in my baking supplies needed to be used ASAP. It's been a long time since I've made cookies from scratch. I remembered that Alton Brown had done a couple of episodes of "Good Eats" on cookies and had recipes on how to make cookies thin or puffy or chewy. I asked Jeff to choose- he chose thin. They are delicious. I don't have a pic of the few I brought to work because they have been consumed. I was even a super nice Mommy... knowing that my Teagan doesn't like chocolate, won't touch chocolate... I made 6 cookies with no chips. Just for her. That's love. That's love. And I realized... it isn't that I love with food. But I do find a profound sense of satisfaction when someone really likes something that I have made with my own hands, something I have made specifically for them. There is a man in our church who cooks and bakes for the church. We have weekly suppers and he is often the chef. He bakes every Sunday morning- raisin cinnamon scones and cinnamon rolls and oatmeal cookie and the most divine chocolate chocolate chip muffins. He has a gift. A talent. And he shares it. He was sitting next to us this week and I raved about my choc-choc muffin... pure bliss. I looked over at my son and he held a chunk of oatmeal cookie in his hand. These cookies are thick and chewy and moist. Not your typical little oatmeal cookie. And it struck me. The pleasure and pride that this man must feel as he looks around and sees all of these people enjoying, taking pleasure, being nourished by something he has created. And a sudden sidebar... I wonder if that is how God feels when he sees us being kind to each other? When he sees us being kind, nourishing, caring, compassionate... when he sees that from the beings he has created? I don't love with just food. But I do show my love with food. And feel love with food. When someone makes something specifically for me... I'm honored. I know I get this from my mother. At every holiday, there is something on the table that belongs to someone. It isn't necessarily some gourmet dish. But it is something that my mother has made for that person. Ryan's Stove Top. Jason's Roasted Potatoes and Carrots. Jeff's Angel Food Cake. Ted's Chocolate Cream. Martha's Cheesecake. And I've started to follow in her food steps. I make my cranberry sauce because my brother, Ted, and my aunt, Martha, love it so much! I really like it, too, of course. But it "completes" their holiday meal. It's another legacy from my mother. And it's a trait I'm proud to carry on. We've recently decided to eat out less and eat in more. Which means more cooking for me. And while the time crunch is stressful, I have to admit to enjoying it. I like cooking. I like tossing together ingredients. I wish I had more time to really cook and become skilled at it. But the food I make tastes good and I take great pleasure in finding something my family really enjoys eating. Jeff likes food that "tastes good." But he also has a very bland palette most of the time. He'd be happy if our weekly menu was baked chicken, rice, peas or broccoli... and frozen pizza. He's happy to lunch on a peanut butter and bologna sandwich. I've yet to make something that he loves. And I've had to learn to disconnect emotions from food in our relationship. I want to show my love by making food he loves, food he can't get enough of. I want him to have a favorite meal or dish that I can make just for him... for his birthday, when he's had a bad day. He doesn't work that way. He doesn't feel love that way. Talk about a disconnected love language! What's funny is that he knows how to love me with food. He can bring home a treat... or make dinner... he can speak my language. My earliest and happiest memories come from my Grandma's kitchen, my Mom's kitchen. My "happy place" in my heart is my Grandma's kitchen (and my memory is of 2 different kitchens that she had during my childhood). Moments that touch my heart now is when my mom bakes and cooks with my daughter and will do so with my son. And I hope that my children have their Grandma's kitchen happy place in their hearts as they move through life. There is a legacy of love and food and cooking in my family. I'm so glad to be part of it and so glad it doesn't end with me.