Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Own Table

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. (This post was written last night.)

And this year Doug and I have dressed our own table and begun our own traditions. I am very excited. We will have dinner, the three of us, in our cozy and colorful home and then we will bring desert to the rest of our in-town family. I'll bake three pies (my favorites!) and it'll be a wild desert party. Peter, Gloria, Mia, Mom, Dad, Manning and Marney. It'll be beautiful.

Last night I made, for the first time, Mimi's Meatballs and Nonie's Potatoes. These can be made ahead, so tomorrow will not be a stressful day in the kitchen. So now is the time for reinvention. Now is the time to create grace.

So last night I discovered I can cook! Man, the minute I previewed the meatballs, popped one in my mouth - I almost cried. I felt Mimi and Nonie, cheering me on - giving me tips and encouragement. Taste inspires such fond memories. I was filled with all the good ones from my growing up - it happened in an instant. And I was so grateful for the chance to choose to be happy and to make life new at every moment. That meatball in my mouth was freedom and forgiveness all in one.

Who knows what kind of thoughts fill a person's head when they're busy making a memorable, traditional dish that's been passed down from generation to generation. Last night was pure bliss. And I just tasted my past and future in one delicious bite. I tasted heaven. I tasted the now.

I'll close with one of my favorite Mark Strand poems. This gratitude, this memory, this love of both the past and present is why I love it so much.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Who knows, maybe I'll graduate to a turkey dinner next year. It doesn't matter what you eat - but that you make it with love.

Pot Roast

by Mark Strand

I gaze upon the roast,

that is sliced and laid out

on my plate
and over it
I spoon the juices
of carrot and onion.
And for once I do not regret
The passage of time.

I sit by a window
that looks
on the soot-stained brick of buildings
and do not care that I see
no living thing—not a bird,
not a branch in bloom,
not a soul moving
in the rooms
behind the dark panes.
These days when there is little
to love or to praise
one could do worse
than yield
to the power of food.
So I bend

to inhale
the steam that rises
from my plate, and I think
of the first time
I tasted a roast
like this.
It was years ago
in Seabright,
Nova Scotia;
my mother leaned
over my dish and filled it
and when I finished
filled it again.
I remember the gravy,
its odor of garlic and celery,
and sopping it up
with pieces of bread.

And now
I taste it again.
The meat of memory.
The meat of no change.
I raise my fork in praise,
and I eat.

No comments: