The portal to autumn is growing closer on the seasonal horizon. Autumn feels like a time of new beginnings. This autumn I look forward to making a serious reconnection with one of my passions…. cooking.
I’m writing this while on vacation in Colorado visiting family. Two weeks ago I was deep in the beautiful woods of Michigan at my sister’s magical cottage at edge of the Great Lake for a family reunion. During this time, my sister-in-law from Boston who works for Cook’s Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen introduced me to a new world of culinary wonder through Canal House Cooking. Additionally, the reconnection with a dear friend and her wonderful website, Bearcuisine, has added the extra influence and encouragement I’ve needed to “get cookin” again.
Years ago, cooking and entertaining were my personal form of self-expression. Somehow the winding road of my life’s journey led me to other priorities and my interest for the culinary arts was put on the back burner, so to speak.
The wonderful cookbooks of Canal House Cooking and my sister-in-law’s inspiration stirred my sleeping longing to reconnect with all things pertaining to the sacred art and craft of cooking.
When I return home from vacation I’ll create a new altar in my kitchen, reorganize my cookbooks and cooking utensils, and stock the pantry and spice drawer in preparation for fall. I’ll revisit my little wooden recipe box that is chock full of family favorites and perhaps I’ll even invent a recipe or two of my own.
The sacred art of cuisine includes; the collection and archiving of recipes and cookbooks, and the process of menu planning, food shopping, organizing the pantry and gathering the necessary tools and accoutrements, preparing and cooking the food, plating the food, and presenting/serving a meal. This ancient sacred art can produce an elaborate feast for a large group, or a simple nourishing nibble for a few or even for oneself. The possibilities are endless.
As autumn approaches, contemplate the sacred art of cuisine. What kind of nourishment is your body craving at the moment? Are there favorite family recipes tucked away in a box or drawer waiting to offer nostalgic sustenance for your family? How might you rearrange your kitchen (your studio for the sacred art of cuisine) to make it more accessible and functional? Contemplate creating an altar in your kitchen, what touchstones might you include?
As autumn prepares to entice us with the blessing of a bountiful harvest, imagine planning and creating a simple nourishing meal for a circle of family or friends gathered at your table. Add prayers as you chop the carrots and stir the mushroom soup. Light the candles on your altar, listen to Madame Butterfly or Miles Davis, place a bouquet of sunflowers on the table, and be sure to add cupfuls of love and gratitude to all you prepare. Bon Appetit!
Blessing for a Meal
Creator of all, You sustain us… We gather at this table in gratitude for the blessings of life that come from You. We give thanks for this meal, for those who cultivated and grew the crops, for Your rain and sun, the honeybee, and the hummingbird. Tonight we pray someone… somewhere on the earth who is without food, whose belly is empty, will feel nourished through Your grace as we share all you have provided. In gratitude we say Amen.