“Whenever you tell me about someone, you tell me what they cook!” My then-new roommate’s exasperated tone clearly suggested that this was not a good thing. It was the 1970s, and women were supposed to be getting out of the kitchen! Our friendship didn’t last, but I still remember her words. Without meaning to, she pointed me toward what’s really going on in the kitchen.
My personal company of saints gathers around me when I cook. I think of Jean when I pull the fat white cookbook off the shelf. I remember Steve when I grind oregano between my palms, and Joe when I push the pot of red sauce to the back of the stove until suppertime. Apple muffins remind me of Madeleine, and breaking eggs of Margaret, who could scramble two or two dozen with equal aplomb.
As surely as they guided me from Skidrow Stroganoff to Roast Turkey With All The Trimmings, my kitchen friends have taught me deeper lessons. Trying new things leads to some successes, some failures, and always a story to tell. Taking care with the littlest things can make the biggest differences. There is always enough to share and room for one more. Food for the body also comforts and sustains the soul. Cleaning up after yourself is part of the process.
Not a few Thanksgiving sermons will mention the religious significance of gathering around a common table and sharing a meal. But before sitting down, look around your kitchen. Among the utensils, pots and memories, very good things are happening. Wisdom and grace are found there.