A ‘grace’ from the Hindu tradition

As thou has set the moon in the sky to be the poor man’s lantern, so let thy light shine in my dark life and lighten my path; as the rice is sown in the water and brings forth grain in great abundance, so let thy word be sown in our midst that the harvest…

A ‘grace’ from the Inuit people

The lands around my dwelling Are more beautiful From the day When it is given me to see Faces I have never seen before. All is more beautiful, All is more beautiful, And life is thankfulness. These guests of mine make my house grand. The Eskimo people of Northern Canada and Alaska are known as…

A ‘grace’ from Chief Dan George

The beauty of the trees, the softness of the air, the fragrance of the grass,   speaks to me. The summit of the mountain, the thunder of the sky, the rhythm of the sea,   speaks to me. The strength of the fire, the taste of salmon, the trail of the sun, and the life…

A ‘grace’ from Walter Rauschenbusch

A circle of friends is a blessed thing. Sweet is the breaking of bread with friends. For the honour of their presence at our board We are deeply grateful, Lord. Thanks be to Thee for friendship shared, Thanks be to Thee for food prepared. Bless Thou the cup; bless Thou the bread; Thy blessing rest…

A ‘grace’ from Robert Louis Stevenson

Lord, behold our family here assembled. We thank thee for this place in which we dwell, for the love that unites us, for the peace accorded us this day, for the health, the work, the food, for the bright skies that make our lives delight, and for our friends in all parts of the earth….

A ‘grace’ from Pakistan

God, we thank you for all your gifts. This day, this night, these fruits, these flowers, these trees, these waters— with all these treasures you have endowed us. The heat of the sun, the light of the moon, the songs of the birds and the coolness of the breeze, the green, green grass like a…

A ‘grace’ from the Dead Sea Scrolls

Author of my wellbeing, source of knowledge, fount of holiness, height of glory, all-mightiness of eternal splendour! I shall choose that which he shall have taught me and I shall rejoice in that which he shall have appointed unto me. When I put forth my hands and feet, I shall bless his name; when I…

A ‘grace’ from Julian of Norwich

Be a gardener, dig a ditch, toil and sweat, and turn the earth upside down and seek the deepness and water the plants in time. Continue this labour and make sweet floods to run and noble and abundant fruits to spring. Take this food and drink and carry it to God as your true worship….

Recipe for Psalm 23

In one of Cameron Semmens’ many delightful books of poetry, Love is the New Black, he offers twenty-three versions of Psalm 23. This one is in the form of a recipe and does my heart good today. INGREDIENTS 1 LORD — in shepherd form. 1 LAMB — in human form. 3 PASTURES — preferably green 1 BODY…

Comfort food #8: Jelly slice

The communion table brings comfort. No matter what flavour our Christian faith — Anglican, Baptist, Catholic or some other— the table at the centre of our churches is a heady reminder of the grace that colours our lives. As often as we meet there to break bread, we rediscover our connections to God and each…

Chicken stock

  Begin, rinsing foods we do not eat: onion skin, broccoli stems, parsley stalks. They drown factually, cooking: unreal green. I push a chicken’s carcass underneath [simmer gently, for clearer juice]; the long neck-bit, the giblets. Peppercorns, whole. A clove, or two. Not grey, but a weak winter-field-gold is what I aim for; like when…

Comfort food #7: Leek and asparagus tart

Let’s be honest. The pursuit of comfort is no fast track to virtue. In fact, there are moments when it’s more like a detour into decadence  — think a tub of Ben and Jerry’s, a block of Lindt chocolate, or a large bag of salt and vinegar chips munched down in front of the TV….

Comfort food #6: Ricciarelli

The taste of comfort travels. Most commonly it’s found in close proximity. Comfort is the taste of home, family and a culture that’s familiar. Sometimes, though, comfort comes from places far away — the tastes of beautiful places that have, momentarily, nurtured our souls. It’s the comfort of memory. I confess that in this season of…

Comfort food #5: Lamb, barley and vegetable soup

I call it Gospel soup. In my memory, it was one of those things served up before we headed to church on Sunday nights — a bowl full of a hearty and warming goodness served with toasted white bread slathered with melting butter. Mine was a church-going family, committed to the core. Though Sunday morning…

Potato Au Gratin

Gratin They wanted gratin. I found potatoes and the carefree of surplus milk; I washed the potatoes in the shadows of water. Peeled, sliced, and layered a scatter of onion, slices; like the photons Persephone unpicked from the loom each morning. Could you do this? I washed the potatoes in the water’s shadows. No crisis,…

Give us this day our daily taste

O Lord, refresh our sensibilities. Give us this day our daily taste. Restore to us soups that spoons will not sink in, and sauces which are never the same twice. Raise up among us stews with more gravy than we have bread to blot it with, and casseroles that put starch and substance in our…

Comfort food #4: Tuna casserole

Comfort and sophistication are awkward friends. The truth is, the food that is more comforting to me than any other is entirely devoid of kitchen glamour. It is my mother’s tuna casserole.  It’s an embarrassing admission. As a self-respecting cook, I normally dismiss recipes that include a can of anything. I’ve sniffed at those contributions…

Piqa Boo

So a couple of years back I happened upon a variety of pears I’d never seen before: Piqa Boo from New Zealand. I saw them again today at a local restaurant-turned-fruitshop in Carlton and bought a small bag full. Crisp and juicy like the Asian Nashi (of which I am not a great fan) blended…

Comfort food #3: Apple pie

In an early issue of the journal Bread, Wine and Thou, editor Yossi Klein reflects on the role of the ‘maternal’ in our table life and its connection to our need for comfort. He describes the maternal broadly as “things that make us yearn, make us whole” but includes the more particular “dishes that feel like…

Comfort food #2: Mum’s fruit cake

Comfort has a smell. Sometimes it’s an aroma so potent it can knock you a six. When I first gathered supplies to recreate my mother’s unfortunately named ‘boiled fruit cake’, I was not ready for it.  Standing at the stove, my saucepan filled with a buttery mound of fruit and a blend of sugar, cinnamon,…