Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Simple Life

I have been on a simple life binge. I realize this is probably an oxymoron but it is my reality. I'm gobbling up books, blogs, recipes, pictures, songs, ANYTHING that I can paw to hear about simplicity. All the while, life barrels on.

I have found some good limbs to grab hold of as life rushes me down its rapids. Some of those limbs belong to authors like Alice Waters, Barbara Kingslover, and Katrina Kennison. Their works hold me down. They could hold you too.

During the busy seasons of life, simple recipes become restful places to repeat the practice of centering your priorities back to God, your family and friends. Over my life the recipe that rises over and over as simple and soulful is my Grandmother's Chicken and Dumplings. It has been ages since my arms have pushed dough across a wooden table until it failed to bounce back to its glutenous knot; taking a butter knife and cutting long strips down and across; scooping and plopping limp rectangles into a bubbling broth of chicken parts and potato stumps.

Although the years have pulled the details of this recipe away from my mind, it has not been pulled away from the memory of my hands and fingers. Those hands and fingers were creating that food as far back as my ability to stand underneath my Momom's housecoat as she moved from the sink, to the stove, to the table.

I rest on those memories, making muffins with Sizzles week after week. We fill those muffins with blueberries, spotted brown bannanas, pumpkin puree, applesauce and strawberry jam. It is our refuge together when our days have been long with struggle, stress or disappointment. Together we find our way back to the kitchen, back to where we belong, back to the beginning of that muffin recipe. And we are home.

If you asked me for the muffin recipe that we use every week of our lives, I would have to look it up. If you asked my hands, they could tell you in one long movement.

One day, my daughter's fingers will tell it too.


Laura said...

heyhey - i have a copy of fanny at chez panisse if you want it!

Becky @ Boys Rule My Life said...

What a great post. I especially liked the end when you say your hands could tell the recipe.

Baking cookies is something I do with my boys on very stressful days. It brings us back together. Gives us a purpose for our time and puts a few more giggles back in our day.

Hope you have a simple weekend!