Almost every Saturday, I cook. I spend a few hours in the kitchen preparing food for that evening and the next day. It’s my own version of Sabbath preparation that I have come to enjoy.
Today I began by making Rhubarb Dream. As I measured and stirred and chopped rhubarb, I looked at the recipe card, written in the handwriting of Kristi, one of my dearest friends, and I remembered the Sunday night when she served this wonderful sweet treat to us and I went home with the recipe. It was only one of many evenings we spent there, talking, talking, talking about the mundane, the profound, and the hilarious. So many wonderful times. And I remember that a mutual friend just emailed that Kristi has shingles. I pray for her and make a mental note to write to her and ask about it.
While working at that, I coached my daughter through the making of Scotcheroos, a marvelous chocolate peanut butter treat. It’s a longtime family favorite that all my children have learned to make. And I remember that the original recipe came from Deb, a woman who my husband was working for. While he sided their house, she brought out wonderful snacks for them almost every day. And I think of how our lives have intertwined with that family over the years. Two of their sons worked for my husband’s construction business, and even her husband worked for mine for a short time. We bought a van from them that is still running after all these years, we’ve watched their children perform in glee club and drama, wept as we heard a touching testimony from their daughter-in-law. We’ve prayed for Deb as she went through a very scary time when she might have lost her vision. And I thank God for this family’s presence in our life. And for the two marvelous recipes that she passed along to me–Scotcheroos and Fresh Peach Dessert.
Then I moved along to preparing the ingredients for Colorific Salad, and I remembered the first time I ate it, at my niece Elizabeth’s wedding. I fell in love with the salad, and have probably made it over a hundred times since then. It’s a regular part of our Sunday lunch and even occasionally pops up for special occasions midweek. No one ever gets tired of it. It’s been three years since that wedding, and I just heard yesterday that Elizabeth is expecting her second child. As I chop lettuce and shake dressing, I pray for Elizabeth, for her husband, for her two-year-old son, and for her unborn child. I remember the times that Elizabeth helped me with my new babies and wish that I could do the same for her.
Right now, there is chicken in the oven for Crock Pot Enchilada Casserole, a recipe that I adapted from one that my dear friend Laurie gave me years ago. I remember the day I stopped by to find her making these enchiladas with her sister, and I remember the days we spent together…she a very young bride many miles from her family and I an exhausted mother of young children. She ministered to me and I hope that I did to her. And I realize that I can’t even remember for sure how many children they have now. I know they had three, but then they started adopting and I lost track. I realize that I need to talk to her–it’s been far too long. And I pray for their family, now so many miles away.
I don’t think I had ever realized until today how many beautiful memories were contained in that simple wooden recipe box. And it all began when I saw an old friend’s handwriting. All of these people live miles from us now, and we rarely see them, but it’s been a wonderful day thinking of them.
Do you find, too, that certain foods bring particular people to mind?
I have been so blessed today. My children decided this morning, without even being asked, to clean the house from top to bottom. They did a wonderful job, and I have to say that it’s one of the best Mother’s Day gifts they could give me. God is good.