Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday Afternoon Tea

Tea time in Virginia... the same vacation as mentioned below.

I was recently curled up on my living room sofa, watching a "farm to table" cooking show when the farmer walked the chef out to an area of the forest where he keeps his hogs.  Not just any piggy mind you... Berkshire pigs!

Well, that caught my attention and I listened with interest as he described their attempts at bringing back this rare breed of pigs.  Why?  I not only adore pigs (blame it on my early years living next to a grain elevator where a few piggies were kept) but there was the memory of an evening... a magical night (Narnia magic you know)... with a Berkshire pig as the main dish.

Some of you will remember that story, as I wrote about it upon arriving home.  It was all about the cooking class-gourmet dinner Stephanie and I enjoyed at Colonial Williamsburg. 

I recall that first bite of Berkshire pig and thinking I had never eaten such delicious pork as was on my plate.  It was almost a spiritual experience.  I mean, really... that entire night was a highlight of my life.

That one dinner brought back to me a feeling I'd forgotten long ago in the fog of time, tight budgets, and trials.  That being the experience provided by excellent food and fellowship.  The kind of experience as shown on a larger scale in Babette's Feast.

Of course, we cannot feast like that each and every night.  For one thing, one would greatly resemble Pooh when he became stuck in Rabbit's front door from eating too much honey.   But that does not mean we cannot often enjoy the wonder of fellowship around the table with the serving of a simple soup and bread or perhaps chocolate chip cookies and cold milk.

Long after the PBS cooking show was replaced by another, I pondered how we must reach out and grasp those special moments.  For that meal I had to say yes to a long trip despite not feeling well and for Stephanie it was taking a chance that the evening out would be worth the financial cost.

We both had to take a leap of faith and the reward was a lovely evening and forever memories.  For there is no one I would have rather shared the experience with than my fellow foodie longtime bff daughter... not even my husband, who could not entirely understand the excitement over a special breed of pig and what baking in a hot cast iron skillet does to cornbread.

God has been teaching me to purposely notice all that is lovely for decades now.

For instance, when we lived in Detroit, my husband traveled almost constantly with our car often parked at Detroit International.  Christopher and I walked everywhere but we were home by dark in the house we rented off of 12 Mile Road.  That left plenty of time to ponder.

Much of my thinking at the time was about the phrase living life on purpose.  I felt as if my life was untethered, living in a place and situation completely out of my comfort zone... imagine moving from a university town to within walking distance of 8 Mile Road (made even more famous by the autobiographical Eminem movie of the same name).

So... what does that have to do with cooking and Berkshire hogs?

Everything really... for it was through those ponderings and writing it all out that I realized we tend to drift through life until something shakes us out of the complacent stupor in which one can become comfortable.

We were created by Him to enjoy beauty all around us... to really look and listen and taste and feel and touch His Creation!  The enemy of living life on purpose can be those very things we crave... comfort, familiar routines and surroundings, long time daily habits, and safety.

He wants us to stop and really look at the sun setting in the West, even if it means dinner will be later than usual that night.

He delights when we let our home become cluttered with paper and paints... or bits and pieces of fabric... and perhaps a little glitter here and there... as we reflect the Creator in our time together creating with our children.  He gets it!

I truly believe He understands my choice of colorful plates which remind me of the Italian vacation I have yet to afford, on which I serve an inexpensive meal of pasta and garlic bread.  Or... pretending I am in a tea room in Bath as pots of tea and finger sandwiches and tiny pastries are shared with those I love.

He... Who has given us kitties and puppies and chipmunks and cardinals and the duck billed platypus... He understands when we take time from our busy schedule to rub the tummy of a Maine Coon.

The Author of the Universe smiles as we must read "one more chapter", or share the verse, or ponder the ability of an author to put together words in such a way they bring tears to our eyes.  He Who IS The Word... loves words.

I am certain it was He who brought the information about the cooking class-gourmet dinner to Stephanie's attention, as she searched out ideas for our one Mother-Daughter event of the year.  For He knew these two foodies would find the evening magical... and this Daughter of Eve would remember that pig long after the night was over.


Rebecca said...

The "lovelies" here lately have included the incredible sunrises! Have they always been this beautiful and I've just MISSED them or is something unusual happening???? And before the sun rose this morning, a beautiful moon...

suzanne said...

there is something truly divine (and i mean spiritually divine) about sunrises and sunsets. God "
bookends" His creation each day with perfect reminders of His glory! He gives us a reason for joy in the morning, and reflection in the evening hours. thank you, Brenda,,for your lovely words, the way you bring thoughts about very different things (pigs? teatime?) together to knit them into truths to encourage us in our daily walks.

Terra said...

What a wonderful post; you have written a love note to God here. I like the idea that He likes glitter and paints in a home with children.
Oh and a friend of mine on Facebook shares cute pig pictures. Would you like to know how to find them on FB?
I am Terra Hangen on FB and in real life too!

Front Porch Grace said...

Lovely post.

Living intentionally.

Yes. This brings notice of moment by moment joy as we thank and worship Him, Master of the moments, as the giver of our very lives.

What a wonderful reminder.

In His Grace,

Vee said...

Yes, anything we enjoy and appreciate is because He built it into us. I love the way you describe this and then end on that comical note that made me laugh out loud! Now I so want to taste some of this Berkshire pig for myself someday.

Cheryl (Copperswife) said...

Beautiful post, Brenda. I've read it through twice, and read parts of it several times. Thank you.

Carolee said...

So, when I was a Univ of IL recently, we went to dinner at a very nice restaurant called Milo's. Several of our group ordered Bershire pork chops, saying there was nothing like them. I opted for some other tantalizing item, but your post now makes me regret my decision! There was a lively discussion of the merits of Berkshires over other breeds!

Judy said...

This post about the delightful feast you enjoyed with your daughter brought to mind Marva Dawn's line, "that we [in North America] have forgotten how to feast, because we have forgotten how to fast" - your many days of forced simplicity (fasting from luxuries) doubtless made the occasion the more memorable. She points out that so many of us have daily or weekly food treats, that the true beauty of a feast (fellowship over food) is often lost on us. This is a lovely reminder.

Anonymous said...

Lovely post ... thank you. Pam (SD)

Nana said...

Hi Brenda;
What a lovely post! I am sitting in my messy kitchen after a week end of doing crafts with my grandkids and for the kids group at church. Thanks for telling me its okay! Love and hugs, Nana

Lynn said...

Complacent stupor! that's where I have been since my youngest went to college two years ago. Just going through the motions of the work day, muddling through the weekends. Thank you for reminding me to wake up and enjoy the beauty around me and not wast a moment of each day.

Anonymous said...

This is such a beautiful post. It reminds me of a quote by Grace Livingston Hill that I quoted on this post....the quote is broken up with pictures, or I would have just cut and pasted the quote only here.

Kimberly said...

A few times a week a voice, different on different days, will be heard calling out, "Sunset Alert!" and everyone knows to drop what they are doing a dash to the windows. Everything can wait for those few minutes to soak in the beauty & wonder of His creation.