|A big baking project|
Thirty-two years ago my youngest child was born. We lived in a nice little neighborhood full of young families that had organized a baby sitting co-op. One of the benefits of membership was dinner for a newborn's family. So late one afternoon I opened the door to greet a pretty young woman with a toddler on one hip and holding a small covered sauce pan with her other free hand. She spoke only broken English but I got the idea she had volunteered to fix dinner for us and it was in the small sauce pan which she indicated didn't have to be returned. The sauce pan was small, old and dinged up with a loose handle. I thanked her and retreated to the kitchen to unveil what meal for a family could be in such a small sauce pan. Spaghetti-O's and that was all! The pot and it's contents went straight in the trash. I'm not sure what country she hailed from, but clearly, something had been lost in the translation. Even if she wasn't a cook, her heart was in the right place.
My method for a charitable event has been a quart of soup, a baguette and cookies. Simple elements to have on hand when somebody's life takes a turn for the worse and you want to help out. Recently, I've been on the receiving end. In the last few months, I've lost a parent, a precious pet and been diagnosed with cancer bringing my charmed life into question. It's taken quite a few years for death and disease to catch up with me and shake up my world. I've carefully arranged my life to proceed according to schedule without too much interference and pronounced others misfortune as, "just life." Well, the tables have turned.
My husband, who is unaccustomed to carry-out and so forth, quietly asked me what we would do for food during my protracted period of illness. It was as if a famine or nuclear attack was imminent. I responded with a well stocked freezer and I added, "There might be something from others."
I've called it a mild case of cancer but it's made me feel like the most popular girl in town. My recuperation from surgery has been enhanced with fresh flowers and delicious meals brought to the door daily. You get spoiled pretty quick. There's some powerful healing in homegrown,
garden picked lettuce and serious homemade chicken soup. What is it about mashed potatoes that makes everything better. I'm suppose to take my pills with something in my stomach. Right before bed a little slice of caramel cake disguises the nasty tasting pill very nicely.
If there's a bright side to loss and illness, it's been the warmth and caring of family, friends and even strangers. What is it that brings out the best in us when times are bad that we should be using in our everyday living? As unpleasant as it's been, I would not trade the expressions of kindness and love for anything.
Tonight, I'm cooking dinner for the first time in a month. I had wondered when or if I'd ever get back to "normal", whatever that is. Meatloaf is a good start.