“. . . and thank you for the hands that have prepared it.”
When my husband says grace, along with thanking God for the food, he also expresses gratitude for the “chef”. Usually, that’s me (except for the times it’s the pizza guy).
The culinary arts have never been my forte. The kitchen is not my natural habitat. I am in awe of those for whom cooking comes naturally. Not measuring. Not even necessarily referring to a recipe. Just putting together stuff that they “think would go well together”. Especially those who do all this in the presence of guests in the kitchen with them. Or on TELEVISION, for Pete’s sake!
However, in an effort to be both frugal and health-conscious, I now cook dinner (I mean real cooking from real stuff — no microwaving of frozen “entrees”) about ninety-five percent of the time. When I made the decision to rise to this challenge, I had high hopes. I envisioned myself calmly chopping and stirring, smiling away, throwing salt over my shoulder like cute little Rachael Ray. Never rushing, as in the days of squeezing in a meal between school and kids’ activities and all the rest. But even now, when my most pressing evening activity is finishing up kitchen stuff in time to watch The Mentalist, I find myself rushing while cooking dinner.
Rushing to get the skillet off the stove before the oil catches fire.
Rushing to chop the artichokes before the pasta sticks together.
Rushing to pick up croutons off the floor before I step on them and grind them into the crevices.
How I do so admire those friends who are at ease in the kitchen, tossing salads, stir-frying, and baking, even with other people hanging around in there! I read last night that if you don’t want others to help in the kitchen, it is because of “control issues.” I beg to differ. I just don’t want anyone to see me crushing croutons wrapped in wax paper with the edge of the artichoke can I just emptied. (Tip: this will eliminate some clean-up only if you remember to fold the ends of the wax paper.)
Usually, my meals turn out fine. In fact, last night I made a chicken and artichoke casserole from a recipe I found in the little cooking magazine that my mother-in-law faithfully renews for me every year. It was delicious. The finished products are good enough, but the process is not pretty. No one should be subjected to that. I like to prepare everything beforehand if possible.
“Thou preparest a table before me . . .”
Somehow I cannot envision God in a rushed frenzy in his preparations. He takes His time, enjoying the process and the friends at His table. He is confident, and He knows what He is doing.
” . . . in the presence of my enemies.”
Wow! Not only friends. But enemies too!? God — the ultimate Host — setting the ultimate table. “My cup runneth over.”
Bless the Hands that have prepared it.