Growing up we used to say grace before every dinner. I’m not sure when or why, but we stopped. Maybe it was after my mom broke up with her boyfriend or after my brother went off to boarding school, probably some point in between. We used to have cards with graces from different traditions. We had blessings we chanted in Hindi, humorous English ones, short ones, long ones. Even at music camp we always sang a blessing before lunch and dinner, a popular favorite being ‘My Plow (Brings me Happiness)’.
Last year when I was in Afghanistan our host seemed surprised that someone as polite and well-mannered as myself hadn’t the patience to say grace before eating. I was out of practice, I’d like to get back into it. It’s a moment of meditation in our busy day. A moment to acknowledge the privilege that, unlike most people in the world, I don’t have to worry about where this meal will come from. Grace is Good.
‘Privilege is a headache you don’t know you don’t have,’
The Russian and I did some canning this weekend. Why? We hate shopping for Christmas gifts, we’re poor, because it’s cool, and because this is what our lemon tree looked like AFTER making 30 jars of marmalade.
We started by harvesting a big bag of lemons, about 20 pounds worth
Then we peeled them, and diced the peel
Leaving us with a pile of big, naked lemons
Don’t be fooled by their size though, the lemons from our tree are mostly pith
Then came the hardest step, juliene-ing 40 lemons. This was also the point when we realized we wouldn’t be finishing that night. It was hard work, we were tired, and while reading the recipe we realized it had to sit overnight in order to create pectin.
This is the flesh
this is our compost
and this is what we pulled out in the morning.
We added sugar
And canned some more
Don’t you wish you were our friend?
This year we celebrate the Joy of Cooking, what are you celebrating this winter?