Saturday, March 28, 2009
Days Are Done.
My week is finished. I am adjusting to my 3 12hour shifts. I can't do anything else on those days but work and sleep, it's a total immersion experience. When it's done though it's done and I can relax, rest and enjoy life. This is not a bad way at all to get the bills paid. I do need to be careful of my back it is just killing me tonight but a few days rest and we will back in business. I don't really understand it but it seems once you've had a bad injury to your back your just more prone to back problems. I've hurt mine plenty. I have been very careful to use proper body mechanics. sheet leverage, and even breathing; and still I am on fire; but it will pass. I really don't know why I'm talking about this, it's NOT the subject of my post!
Recently my dear dear much loved friend Debbie in CA. (which is also dear to my heart) wrote a post about her best recipes for pie crust and biscuits, and she recommended some recipe books.
Well, the truth is no book she recommends is ever bad, not even mediocre. There are gourmet cooks like Cathy at Noble Pig who I am sure never makes anything that is a flop. There are gourmet artists and craftsmen you know people whose excellence in what they do is just plain inspiring. Debbie is on that level with books. Every book she has ever placed in my hands has delighted me. When we had the joy of being neighbors for a season and God wove our lives together we ministered to each other in beautiful ways. I was a nurse for her darling children and adored them all. Rachel Kaye was a newborn babe with her little dried cord still intact. I immediately fell madly in love with the little newborn. The next little girl was the busiest fairy princess I have yet to ever meet again; her world was in her imagination she dressed the part with lovely little frocks and stories coming freely about her candid adventures with her imaginary friends. Move over Darby O' Gill and the little people, you have been one upped. The eldest girl was a dear, moving towards adulthood with the firm hold on her position of eldest she was ever mindful of every ones needs and careful to assist her parents with the family's daily schedules. The boys were special needs people; as our society calls them. To me and to their family they were, and are the special joys! My little buddy loved opera and books. He really did, though he couldn't speak, he communicated very effectively with great sounds of gusto when happy, and big outbursts of laughter when tickled. He was crazy in love with baby RK, totally smitten. I introduced them to the Gaither videos, after their initial shock at hair spray and big belt buckles; and Debbie introduced me to her collection of books. Her excitement over what she is growing or cooking or reading is always spilling over and it very contagious. I'd listen and nod and then devour whatever it was that she said,"I simply must read." I found myself coveting her children's' home school life and wishing I could be one of her children which wouldn't work out very well since I am quite a bit older than Debbie!
This rambling epistle is to introduce the cookbooks she recommended. When Debbie recommends a book it is an E.F.Hutton type of moment. Be quiet and listen! After looking at them on line some were just irresistible. since discovering used books on line they can be purchased quite cheaply. I found a Farm Life Cooking book by Susan Loomis in nearly new condition for 72cents! The most appealing one was of course, "The Amish Cook." It arrived today, it is a documentary of Amish life, and also the story of one family. I started reading it and am just in love with the tale. While reading, I realized just how much that I have been blessed in my own life by similar simple country touches.
My own mother grew up on a farm in East Texas. Her mother had 9 children and was widowed for the third time when my mom was only 5 years old. Mother's only recollection of her father is that the funeral home shaved his beard, and she had never seen him without it, so she felt oddly confused and upset at his burial. She said he had red hair. Since Granny was poor she sharecropped and her children had to work in the fields with her. They worked cotton. They also raised vegetables and canned. Mama used to run off with Big Red the plow horse and ride him bareback for fun. He wouldn't let anyone else ride him like that, which of course made her very proud. She was a little hellion and had a tiny fraternal twin. Other kids picked on her sister at school and mama would fight them. When she got home she'd get a whuppin for fightin, and do it again the very next time someone picked on her little twin. She was tough. Mama learned to cook in the country without a recipe book. She never saw a recipe book. Everything was prepared with knives, spoons and forks. Measurements were done in the hands and with regular table cups and bowls. You learned to scoop by eye and pour until the batter was right. She trained me to cook in this same way. To this day my idea of cooking is to look in the refrigerator or the pantry and see what I have. After thinking about what sounds good together I just get started and "cook something up." It is most always delicious. I also have an uncanny knack to take the ingredients apart in a dish I haven't cooked and figure out what is in it. I can come pretty close to duplicating things we eat at restaurants and don't have a recipe for, unless it's totally foreign to me.
While reading The Amish Cook tonight I reflected on what a rich blessing this is in my life. My mother taught me to make something from very little, or something special when their is a lot.
My grandmother taught me her traditions from Europe and Denmark. I learned a great deal from her. My grandfather and father taught me how to bake. I also grew up and had these experiences before the technological age. TV was very new. TV was black and white and we had channels 2,4,5, 7, and later 9. We only watched it in the evenings and on Saturday morning. TV had not moved into our homes like it has today. Families spent time together teaching and enjoying. Our family had rich traditions of food and laughter at the table. I can remember so many festive gatherings with a table loaded with mouthwatering dishes, so many aromas to choose from and the excitement of the feast. Mother loved to set a pretty table and she lit candles and made bouquets from her flower beds. I do the same. My husband says I love to set the mood. It's true. To prepare wholesome and delicious dishes accompanied by just the right music and pretty lighting, does something to the soul and the stomach. It lifts our hearts and makes us merry. We feel festive, we relax, we unwind and enjoy. People begin to talk and share ideas, sip a little wine and sigh over a tasty morsel. This is abundant living. To enjoy the produce of our work. To enjoy the company of family and friends. To take a real rest from every day strife and stress. To enjoy a simple meal prepared in a beautiful way. It can have the same effect as a vacation to relax like this. It sure beats shopping and running up a credit card bill. It's up to us also to pass it on, to let the younger women know these joys.
This evening as I relax and unwind from my intensive training in intensive care, I am planning a quiet lovely meal. Times of refreshing for the weary, and I am thankful to my mother, my grandmother, and my friends, that have shared their gifts with me.