Creativity in the Kitchen, Praise in Community
BY TAYLOR MAY
Ricotta peach cookies, shaped like little peaches with a teeny mint leaf to garnish the top of the would-be fruit, caught my eye as my husband and I made our entrance to a goodbye party thrown in our honor. I saw it there on the table that was spilling over with all the edibles everyone had brought and smiled. People would come in with their dish, set it on the table with the rest, pile their plate with the generosity of the growing crowd and head outside to join the fun, to take part in the community.
I saw the little peach cookies before I saw Alexa and her husband, but knew because the cookies were there, that she was too.
"I didn't know that I cared about tasting good things until I got married," Alexa told me. And that amazes me. Because day after day I see her delicious feed and am in awe of the things she creates with food, with her hands. Things like homemade lavender marshmallows and homemade clotted cream; meringue wreaths and pan sheet pizza. I look through her food photos and feel whimsical and hungry all at once.
“But I don’t cook for myself, I cook for my friends, for [my husband] Jacob, for people. Even just chopping a vegetable is like a little liturgy … where you're just making something for the enjoyment of someone else,” she said … and I’m even more inspired.
An art major in college, and on a never ending search for beauty, she discovered it again and again in food: a love for creating things. Raw and unruly materials given us by a gracious Creator become, in our broken and tired hands, things filled with flavor and creativity and decadence. There’s a certain giddiness seeing someone bite into something you’ve made. Seeing them savor it, knowing you made it.
“I want that beauty, it nourishes my soul.”
What wonder that God has given us a way to tangibly work with His creation, and to throughouly enjoy what He's given us. We make something out of it and then we give it away. Magic happens. People come over to our house, we go over to theirs, press pause on the world around us and enjoy something that was made from our hands and our hearts.
"It's recreating beauty," Alexa says, excitement bubbling over as she shares stories of taking eggplant, a mushy not-so-appetizing food to some, made into a delightful dessert. Taking that mushy thing and making something amazing, that's the Gospel. Isn't it? Making beautiful things out of ugly things. Bringing order to the chaos. And the best part, we are called to do it together. While we tell the story of the Gospel with our hands and taste and see that it is good, we talk about it together, we enjoy it with each other, each bearing the image of the invisible, perfect God.
Around the table, our souls are nourished. “We [talk] about simple living and what the Gospel lived out looks like. Those conversations in candlelight with good, homemade food was one of those moments you remember.”
Life with Jesus happened around the table. He ate with everyone. He ate with His friends, with His enemies, with the lost, with the rich, with the poor. It’s no surprise then, that such nourishment comes from gathering together around the table of food. And the purpose? … I’m not sure … but by the Grace of God it can taste amazing, too.
Don’t neglect to gather together, Kindreds. And don’t neglect the enjoyment of it. We were made to live in community, in togetherness. And how beautiful that over a meal, we can together discover more of who God is.
PHOTOS BY KATEY LEE