"God showed me something small, no bigger than a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand… and it was round as a ball. I looked at it with the eye of my understanding and thought: 'What can this be?' And it was generally answered thus: 'It is all that was made.' It was so small I thought it might disappear, but I was answered... everything has being through the love of God." --Julian of Norwich

Monday, November 1, 2010

Food and me, #12: So, I haven't (quite) given up.

Perhaps you've given up on me, but I have not quite given up.  The start of school has been crazy.  And the semester has been crazy.  And right now I'm taking every day one day at a time.  But tonight, I thought I would make good on a promise and take one tiny step forward on these last six blogs by posting a poem that attempts to capture the rest of my experience which I left unfinished in #11.


I drove down the green road,

past the golf course, past
the carefully manicured lawns, past
the Starbucks and the neat fluorescent aisles
of the local grocery store.

"My soul thirsts for you, God,”
I said, my bones clenching
the soft steering wheel,
“my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land
where there is no water left
since we pour it into the ground
an offering to green grass;
since we reverse osmosis filter it
for dehydrating stimulants;
since we hoard it in sterile,
clear plastic bottles.”

So I asked the LORD, the God
of power and glory, “Show me your face.”
I thought he might want me to burn
incense or fast or protest golf.

But the LORD said, “Rise up early
and go to the farmers market.
I will be there.”
Well, I didn’t make it very early,
I hoped that God would still be around.
The “bull’s blood” beets were fat and red,
there were purple carrots, and speckled
shelling beans and flat
kale leaves and jalapeño
peppers. The farmers smiled
and chatted. I bought some green
beans, but I didn’t see God.

So I asked the LORD, the God
of steadfast love, “Show me your face.”
I thought he might want me to
give up all I have or steal
from the rich and give to the poor.

But the LORD said, “Go to the butcher
and buy a free-range chicken.
I will be there.”
I wasn’t sure where he was going with this.
I looked around the narrow store
before timidly making my order
to the tall boy behind the counter
with the knives. They had wild Elk burgers
and salt pork and gammon bacon and bones
for soup. I left grasping the smallest
chicken like a goldfish from the fair,
but as it squished around in the bag I kinda felt
ripped off. I didn’t see God.

So I said to the LORD, the God
of silence, “Show me your face.”
I didn’t know what he was going
to say this time. And I wasn’t really sure
if I would do it anyway.

And the LORD said, “Cook that recipe
from Julia Child that you love so much,
use the bottle of sherry you’ve been saving
for something special and eat dinner
with your husband. I will be there.”
By now I was pretty sure God was
on vacation and had his auto-reply on random.

But I dusted off the sherry, put
it on the table, and considered it for a while.
It couldn’t hurt to try. So I cooked.
I cut out the chicken’s spine,
set it aside for stock. I split
the breast from drumstick, thigh,
wing, tenderloin, patted them dry and
dropped them into butter and oil.
Once they were brown and waiting,
into the pan went peeled, seeded tomatoes
and broth and the sherry. And, at the last,
sautéed brown mushrooms.

I boiled the green beans,
then they too sautéed carefully in butter
before I scooped them into the serving bowl,
pouring the sauce over the chicken
and, finally, setting the table.
We lit the candles, poured
the sherry, pulled our napkins
into our laps, broke the bread.
And the LORD was there.

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