Sitting down to lunch with you, and a plate of Spanish Stewed Beef on Noodles. (I finally figured out how to make it sans tomato. YAY!!! )
In my mind today, I am harking back to my grandmother’s kitchen. Mary Etta Faulkner Horton could feed an army at any meal on any day. A great cook, even if it seemed like simple food. It was all amazing. I think she always cooked so much, because from depression times till the Seventies, she often had many people at her table. Neighbors, extended family, passersby, many – in need; Richard and Etta, always welcomed anyone and everyone to their table. They worked as hard to raise and farm that food, as they worked to generously provide the hospitality and meet the need.
Etta at her stove was a wonder to behold. So many pots, pans, and skillets were cooking on the top and in the oven of that wood stove, with no concern for how the fire would burn her face, or age her before her time. The fire was being stoked; pots stirred and juggled for space, the whole cook top, hot and productive, the oven filled with warming or baking. I think maybe that is where we learned it … Bessie and I – To think about so many things, and manage so many things at once.
We were never rich people, when compared to the rich. We’ve never been poor, when compared to actually poor people. But we have always in our juggling of responsibility, love and creativity, been blessed at every turn of the road and lift of the hand. Whether it was in the joy of the depths of the painting, the lift of the song, the turn of the tale or the long road of adventure, there was so much blessing in each encounter.
Yes my friend, I know you think I keep a lot juggling on my stove, and nothing stays on the back burner long, but if it means that I enjoy this lunch with you, Etta, and Bessie… it is worth every moment facing the fire.