Friday, August 2, 2013

Let There Be Food and Friends

Food touches the heart strings of my soul. Indeed, most of my life I have fought, denied or succumbed to that reality.

Reading along this summer with the Bloom Bookclub study has played my soul like Handel Canon in D.

I inhaled the book "Bread & Wine" by Shauna Niequist as if it were a generous slice of my own homemade bread, steaming from the oven, slathered with equal amounts of real butter and raw honey whipped together, dripping off the sides and sticking to my fingers.

Can you tell that bread is at the top of my comfort food list and is one of my signature things to bake?

Anyone who really knows me, is probably aware too, that I have not joined the craze of gluten free and enjoy the feast of fresh ground, whole wheat bread or hand crafted cinnamon rolls with a hint of real maple and chopped pecans.

It's part of who I am.

It was part of how I was raised.

It is a part of how my children were raised and now they are raising their children on them too.

I love to share time and food with friends. It is my love song to those I care about or wish to bless. 

Food has played a major role in my dearest, closest, longest standing relationships. 

As a child  I knew what day of the week it was by what was being served for dinner.  My mom had signature brownie recipe and frosting made with marshmallows when there was a death. She loved potato soup when she wasn't feeling well, and would make three or four kind of cookies, when she was really upset.

What she was unable to communicate or fix in the world, she was able to find comfort in the process of touching, smelling, crafting and tasting of food.

When we were happy there was food. When we were sad there was more food.

Now that my mom is gone, those things seem even more important and alive to me. 

In her book, Shauna said it so well: "It's no accident that when a loved one dies, the family is deluged with food.... Food is a language of care, the thing we do when traditional language fails us.." 

And my family has had it's share of tragedy.  With each loss, there was an instinctive mode of response. 

It always involved a tremendous amount of food.

A classic example of that is when my grandmother lost her battle with cancer over twenty years ago now.

As we huddled together in her kitchen, her dear friend and neighbor delivered a large pan of fresh-from-the-oven apple cake accompanied with a beautiful pitcher of homemade caramel sauce. 

We devoured it's warm, spicy goodness until we were in a sugar coma. 

We ate it the next day for breakfast too.

After we begged Miss Bessy for the recipe, she was kind enough to bring a second pan of this deliciousness and the instructions how to make it.

Miss Bessy's Raw Apple Cake became an instant family favorite. It's an honest, easy, old time recipe, that would not be so hard on your glycemic levels if you skipped the caramel sauce. 

But that isn't probably going to happen in this house.

Live is too short  ...please pass the sauce.


This time tested treat is so thick with chunks of fresh apples that I often double check the recipe, to see if I've followed the instructions correctly.

One of the things that blessed me about reading this book was the freedom it brought in this area of my foodie life and background. I am so thankful to have learned to prepare, share and enjoy food with those around me. 

I'd love to have you sit at my table.

We who are hungry for true friendship and acceptance.

We could talk over a good cup of coffee and fresh baked cake.

The next best thing is to share a recipe that I love, so I do hope you try it.

This book, has helped me embrace a long misunderstood relationship with food and what a true gift it is to be able to open my home, my heart, my time around a table.

It's a beauty melody ..this thing of friends sharing life and food.

My prayer is that today you will pause to

  "...taste and see the Lord is good" friends.  

*Caramel Sauce is made and stored separately in refrigerator.
Eating this cake right out of the oven is amazing but
eating some the next day is wonderful too.
Just spoon caramel sauce over your piece of cake
and warm it up in microwave for a few seconds.
 More yum-i-ness.

*This post is inspired by Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequiest for the Bloom Book Club at {in}courage.

* * I love this book so much that I am giving one away! To enter just leave a comment telling me something about yourself, your family, your friends and/or food. Can not wait to hear from you!

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© Rhonda Quaney