feeding gratefulness - an abby barnhart special

*today's post is from abby barnhart. abby is a favorite of the haines' house (and many other houses i'm sure). take the time to visit her site. in fact subscribe to it. you won't be disappointed.

feeding gratefulness

i'm no chef, but i sure can eat, and along the way, to my mother's great surprise, i fell in love with the cooking.

my sunday ritual now includes recipe-hunting and a meandering trip through the store -- first round the outside through the greens and the good greek yogurt, then up and down the aisles for the stuff they try to hide -- pine nuts, saffron, anything with wasabi. all the way i'm weaving and hunting, gathering, preparing, a huge chunk of a day set aside to ensure a week's worth of my most favorite thing -- sitting down to dinner together.

most nights, i slice onions on the counter by the coffee beans. it's not big or well-lit, but that's my chopping spot. and most nights, no matter the trick, the tears well heavy and run fast, like they were waiting all day for the final word, go.

i've tried holding water beneath my tongue, to keep from breathing in the fumes. i've tried candles, bread, and ice cubes, worn goggles, ran fans, made up and performed an inspired no-cry jig. yet every time, with just one slice, the dam is loosed. a day's worth of whatsits stored in the pent-up places, set free - to well and run, and then be done.

the onions do the cutting. the dinner is making me.

i'm not the first to find the peace of ritual in a solitary saute. we eat to live, but we cook to give thanks - as a gesture of love to those at our table, a measure of friendship to a scared and shaking stranger, as a connection to the past, the far away, and the not forgotten. i know i won't be the last to call mom when the quiche is too salty, or the buttermilk turned, or the soup tastes just like hers.

central moravian's chapel sits at the corner of church and main in the heart of old bethlehem. they celebrate lovefeast from time to time - a passing of sweet bread and forgiveness, love and goodwill. i visited on an off sunday and didn't get a bite, but i know the taste. i can feel it on my tongue and somehow, behind my eyes. they well and run.