Thursday, November 26, 2009

Cooking Therapy

There is something in the act of cooking - especially cooking to share with others - that heals a weary soul. It hit me yesterday, as we were trying to get a head-count and dish-count for today's Thanksgiving Day meal. The act of buying the ingredients and carefully preparing our specialties (and the occasional new recipe) is a sort of holy ritual, an offering to the family, friends, and strangers who grace our table on this special day.

Ours is a pot-luck (emphasis on "luck" - luck for those of us who get to eat it) meal, with everyone bringing special casseroles, appetizers, and desserts to add to the turkey and dressing. I sometimes wonder if our 80-year-old aunt who brings deviled eggs and sweet potato casserole or the friends who bring the pumpkin pies would like to be let off the hook for a year, or forever. What if we all just went to a restaurant one year? Would it be the same?

Not for me. As I prepare my traditional dishes, I also prepare myself to share, savor, and remember the things for which I'm most thankful. It is a ritual, a liturgy of sorts, that allows me to offer just a little something of myself (and the kitchen) to those around our table. I, for one, would miss that if a stranger prepared the meal for us.

As crazy as the kitchen gets - with the oven and refrigerator opening and closing a bazillion times, dishes piling up in the sink, and last minute trips to the grocery store eating up precious time, preparing a common meal allows us all to concentrate on pulling this together one more time. You have to let go of the everyday cares and woes to make it happen. And that is a blessed thing.

On this Thanksgiving Day 2009, I'm thankful for all the loving hands and hearts who made our meal possible. I hope each of you found it as wonderfully therapeutic as I did. Happy Thanksgiving!

1 comment:

Joy Des Jardins said...

Mary, I hope you had a beautiful Thanksgiving sweetie....loved this post. Hugs, Joy