Real cooking is more about following your heart than following recipes!
December brings us the holy season of light for those who celebrate Christmas or Hanukah. It is a time of giving, celebrations and often a growing to-do list as we go about creating a special holiday for our loved ones.
The winter season for me has always inspired a turning inward and a settling in, a time of reflection for true meaning beyond the glitter, ribbon and wrapping. A time many of us come together to give thanks, praise and remember the holiness that is our life.
As I begin the process of decorating, organizing and shopping, I am moved to open a well-worn book with its faded cover that belonged to my late mother-in-law. Sifting through her favorite recipes as I trace their faded edges, it is as if I am beside her at the kitchen island, gold-rimmed glasses resting just above her nose, her hands moving in rhythm as she strokes, samples and stirs.
Copper pots and pans simmer with the glow of fresh vegetables, garlic sizzling and butter gently sautéing. My mouth waters as the mushrooms pop and the meat marinades, each bite more delicious than the first. A conversation about the littlest of things makes for tender moments and a day I would live all over again. In this kitchen, recipes and love brought family and devoted friends together year after year. There are countless memories of Christmas past and special gatherings.
Like a story being retold, memories come alive within its well-worn pages dotted with cooking oil, faded coffee ring stains, her handwritten notes in the margins, the recipes she doubled, the dinners prepared for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning; food has the unique ability to capture moments in time.
It is in remembering these tender moments that I feel the passage of time as it wraps around me like a collection of years. Each recipe is more than a memory but rather ingredients for a sweet, simple, yet rich and satisfying life.
As we enter this special season, may you hold in your heart that which is most dear and everlasting!
After all, it is what we share that lives on!