Mixed Faith Cooking

The Next Family

By: Tanya Ward Goodman

In the last week, I’ve cooked a Passover brisket and an Easter brunch.  In between, I pan fried scallops wrapped in prosciutto and let a tray of cinnamon buns rise on the counter.  I fried a batch of fish caught by my son and, stirred an impromptu celery and tomato risotto.  I dressed half a dozen arugula salads and served up strawberries with cream, flourless chocolate cake and many, many jelly beans.

We’re a mixed faith couple and at certain times of the year, that calls for a lot of cooking.  We are not big church/temple folk, but my husband and I can both find a bit of religion in the kitchen.  There is something of a prayer in the reading of a good recipe.  Something like hope when you wait for dough to rise.  There is something like faith when you take the lid from a pot and always love when you gather around a table.

After a week of near constant celebration, things are getting back to normal.  The visiting relations have returned home, the kids are back in school.  The Seder plate and the finger puppets depicting the ten plagues are packed away along with the Easter baskets and plastic eggs.  I’ve washed all the napkins, swept the floors and put the big platters away.

Tonight, I roasted a chicken and baked some yams.  I steamed some broccoli and set the table.  My son sliced thick pats of butter and slipped them into slits he’d cut in his potato.  He calls it the “toaster method.” My daughter, who has lived for the past week on chocolate rabbits and matzoh, ate two chicken legs and a pile of broccoli.

The rest of the chicken went into a pot with beans and barley and carrots.  The pot bubbled while my husband and I took turns walking our daughter up to her bed.

“But I have so much to do,” she said.  “I can’t sleep.”

“Bedtime,” we said.

“But I can’t.”

“We love you,” we said.

“Goodnight,” we said.  “Goodnight.”

Now, the house smells warm and good and I think she’s finally off to sleep.  Tomorrow, there will be soup and with a little work, we will all settle back into our rhythms.  I have faith.

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