Tuesday, August 25, 2015

around the table



 “When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, 
"what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. "It's the same thing," he said.


I hear about these people who glance up at the clock only to realize it’s three in the afternoon, and they haven’t eaten lunch.  I will never understand these people – people who eat purely for survival and view meal time as an obligatory task giving them fuel to tackle more important endeavors.
I know they exist – people who eat plain chicken, put skim milk in their coffee, and don’t plan weekends to revolve around new recipes, but these are not my people.  I love food, and not just the eating part.  I love everything that goes along with it.
I love reading through cookbooks, bookmarking recipes, and meal planning for the week.  I love pouring a glass of wine, turning on music, and chopping piles of veggies to be thrown into a hissing pot.  I love plopping my children up on the counter to help measure, mix, and taste test every step of the way.   And I love it all even more when I know friends will soon arrive to gather around the table.   It doesn’t have to be a meal fit for Top Chef; pizza and Three Buck Chuck will work just fine because ultimately, it’s not really about the food.  Food may be the starting point, the common ground, but when friends take time to sit around a table and eat, it will eventually lead to sharing life together.  That is the real reason I love to cook.  
Every so often God loves to blow me away by answering a prayer I never had the guts to actually pray.  I mean really, how ridiculous to ask the Lord for friends who love food as much as Stephen and I do.  And yet over the past ten years, God keeps surprising us with dear friends that can talk food and embrace a messy kitchen right alongside us.
These are friends who come into our kitchen and know right where to find the cutting board and bread knife.  They invite us over hours before dinner because it’s just expected that yes, of course we want to help stuff the perogies or roll out the tortillas.  We know their spices are in the corner cabinet, and they know our wine corkscrew is in the top left drawer.  We sample sauces simmering on their stove, and they help themselves to anything in our fridge without asking.  We know we are welcome to set up a pack 'n play in the back room if today’s meal overlaps with naptime or bedtime, and they know they are welcome to stay long after I’ve gone to bed.  I love this.  To me, it is friendship at its greatest.
And such was the case this weekend as Stephen and I teamed up with Matt and Beth for what I can only assume is the first annual, Smokefest 2015.  

Matt arrived at our house at 6:15 am to pick up Stephen and our grill.  After all, one grill isn’t enough for Smokefest.  Hickory woodchips were placed on the charcoal and the meat (a beef brisket and 14 pounds of Boston butt!) was on the grill by 7:30 am.  Rotating shifts were assigned in order to allow each family to still go to church. Beth and I were on sides and pie duty, and the five children stayed out of the kitchen as long as we allowed them to stick a finger or two into the whipped cream filled bowl.   We made multiple trips to Kroger to pick up forgotten ingredients, and the pork took four hours longer than expected.  I ate at least half the greens right out of the pan before they even made it to the table, and 9-month-old Andrew pounded a good portion of the mac & cheese before all the dishes had been past.  But look at that spread. 


Twelve hours of food preparation with friends.  Worth every minute.  

 “…the most sacred moments, the ones in which I feel God’s presence most profoundly, when I feel the goodness of the world most arrestingly, take place at the table.”
-Shauna Niequist, Bread &Wine 

12 comments:

  1. Not to correct you, but it's actually Summer Smokefest 2015 since Fall Smokefest 2015 is just around the corner.

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  2. I love everything about this entry! We miss those times, but know there are many more around the corner. I am also happy that until then, I get a little piece of Joy through 44 and Oxford. Looking forward to the next entry my friend.

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    1. Thanks, Michelle! We love cooking with you!!!

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  3. Thank you for teaching me to enjoy cooking. Yesterday I cooked all day, preparing muffins to be mailed to my cousins as they start college and prepare dinners for the week. I had a glass of Pinot noir (yes, red, which you taught me to enjoy) and jammed to some music. Love you and your cooking spirit.

    P.S. When I add skim milk to my milk this morning, I'll try to forget that for that moment I'm not one of you people. ;)

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    1. You are my people every other moment in the day. ;)

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  4. Love this! I think it's time for you guys to start filming more episodes of your "Cooking with Couples" TV show!

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    1. hahahaha! Stephen still talks about editing our first episode!

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    2. You bet I do....we still have to get it on YouTube! :)

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  5. I just listened to a good sermon and the preacher pointed out something very encouraging about Jesus.... After He rose from the dead - He ate fish with the disciples. He ate! So, when we move on to eternity with Him - we also we eat. How exciting is that??

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  6. Last comment actually Matt posting... :D

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