I love to read. I’ve always loved reading. When I was a young girl, I spent most of my summers reading. And when I discovered a summer reading program my sixth grade year – I was overjoyed! The school gave their students access to the library for a handful of hours each Friday to encourage the students to be better readers. I saw this as a summer filled with adventures.
I happily walked my younder siblings to our little library and we carried full book-bags back home just in time for lunch. It was a first in summer reading programs. It was the summer of 1980. I read Florence Nightingale’s biography and the entire “The Great Brain series by J.D. Fitzgerald. (I don’t know why I loved that series, but I did.) In seventh grade, I was enrolled in a speed reading class. I really enjoyed that class! I learned how to read the important words and disregard the rest. I learned to retain the information to do well on comprehension tests. I read fast. I did well. I joined a Bible Quiz club and learned memorizing skills and studied with furvor. (my spelling, however, was always a struggle) Math? Science? P.E. Class? for the birds .. I did my best, but my best wasn’t so hot. Learning about History or the biography of those scientists – wonderful!
Fast forward to a married young woman with little ones, homemaking, and cooking.. I could read at and follow a recipe with ease; but didn’t find much, if any, joy in cooking. It was like science class of sorts .. follow the formula and get an edible outcome. Boring. But our little family needed to eat .. every day. The more I cooked the better the meals became. I loved to set the table, talk at the table, and laugh with family and friends. I saw that aspect as the enjoyment of meals more than the cooking.
Now our children are adults, many are married, and Curt and I are empty nesters. I have time to reflect on how my cooking has progressed through the years and the course it will take in the future. I have time again to read just for me. During our children’s growing up years I didn’t really have the time for pleasure reading. We homeschooled k-12 and read aloud for the children. Now .. now the house is in a new season .. what could I read?
I found a book at the library with an intriguing title: The Splendid Table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper. The title was so lovely — so splendid.
The greatest joy in this book has been the people who made it possible. I want to wrap my arms around the entire region of Emilia-Romagna in appreciation. She and her people shared so much, not only in tangible information, but in the intangibles: the spirit of her hospitality, the way light moves across her plain and her deep passion for her own culinary heritage. ~Acknowledgements, The Splendid Table
How could I not join the author on her journey? This isn’t just a book of edible formulas; it is a beautiful adventure. Immediately, I saw the countryside, I felt the warm sunshine, and could smell the aromas beckoning as breads baked, meats were grilled, and fruit ripened . . . can you smell the freshness? The author brought to life a cookbook in a way I’d never read. This wasn’t a list of ingredients like a ‘to-do’ list. This was a rosy cheeked loud grandma with her sleeves rolled up, dirty apron, showing you the right way to cook. Having you taste and taste again ..
And so I began to read about soups, breads, pastas .. such a familiarity .. Garlic, butter, tomatoes, beef, olive oil .. hey! these are my favorite foods .. hey! .. a light bulb .. my maternal grandparents cooked like this .. my mom loves these .. and then I knew it .. I had come home .. I suddenly realized that food was more than for survival. There was something more than the nutrients it possesses, it is meant to bring JOY TO YOUR TABLE.
He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and the herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; and wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to mke his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart. -Psalm 104:14-15
I began to search out cookbooks that told a story, authors and bakers that invited the reader to join their family dinners, hear the laughter, and taste the delight found written on the pages. As I read, I learned. As I read the more confident I became as a baker and it began to show at our table. My perspective on food was brought back to where is should be .. making our table a place of joy and not getting through another meal with dishes and complaining; but rather taking the time to enjoy and cherish the moment with those whom we ‘break bread’.
I’ll leave you with the following hashtags for you to consider: #slowliving #bringbreadhome #homemade #freshfromtheoven #splendidtable #family #friends #gatheringtogether #morethanjusteating #lovemadeedible #nosciencehere #allheart
Are your meals #madewithlove ??
until next time,