A radiance of friends

We have shared our table with friends these last few days. A reminder of its gift. DELIGHT by Michael O’Siadhail Let the meal be simple. A big plate of mussels, warm bread with garlic, and enough mulled wine to celebrate being here. I open a hinged mussel, pincering a balloon of plump meat from the…

‘Meredith’s’ ode to cooks

We may live without poetry, music, and art; We may live without conscience, and live without heart; We may live without friends; we may live without books; But civilised man cannot live without cooks. He may live without books — what is knowledge but grieving? He may live without hope — what is hope but…

Nancy Willard on how to stuff a pepper

An award winning writer of children’s books, American Nancy Willard is also a novelist, poet and an observer of ordinary things. Even better, she writes recipes … my kind of recipes. I’m a cook who doesn’t like to be told. Entice me with visions then leave the rest to them. Thank you Nancy. I’m headed home to stuff…

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 prayer as we set the table

Setting the table As I lay a fork near a plate, let me remember this is Your table, not mine. As I set the water glasses down and fold the napkins, let me be reminded that every setting at this table is Yours, not mine. Each one who will partake of this meal is a…

A prayer at the kitchen sink

Doing the dishes My life will always have dirty dishes. If this sink can become a place for contemplation, let me learn constancy here. I gaze through the window above the sink. There I see the constancy of dawn, the constancy of dusk, the constancy of the seasons, of the sun and moon, and the…

A prayer for the kitchen

COOKING Peeling, chopping, cutting, mincing, slicing, measuring, pouring, stirring, poaching, bubbling, frying, turning, simmering, serving. These are the words I cook with. They are all motion, all process. I know as I create this meal there is another cooking going on. It, too, is all motion, all process — an inner transformation. Help me to…

Bread

Sometimes words are as beautiful, as sacred, as those things they describe. Each night, in a space he’d make between waking and purpose, my grandfather donned his one suit, in our still dark house, and drove through Brooklyn’s deserted streets following trolley tracks to the bakery. There he’d change into white linen work clothes and…

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 the Osage Indians

Footprints I make! I go to the field with eager haste. Footprints I make! Amid rustling leaves I stand. Footprints I make! Amid yellow blossoms I stand. Footprints I make! I stand with exultant pride. Footprints I make! I hasten homeward with a burden of gladness. Footprints I make! There’s joy and gladness in my…

A Hindu blessing

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 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…

An ode to bread and wine

My friend Stefanie passed on these words in response to others from Garrison Keilor posted here. Though quoted by David Adam in one of his many books of Celtic prayers, I’m unsure of where they come from originally. If you know, I would be glad to know too. Be gentle, when you touch bread, Let…

A ‘Grace’ from Monica Shannon

When we eat the good bread, we are eating months of sunlight, weeks of rain and snow from the sky, richness out of the earth. We should be great, each of us radiant, full of music and full of stories. Able to run the way the clouds do, able to dance like the snow and…

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, and the bright Skies that make our lives delight, for Our friends in all parts of the earth. Give…

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 Christ’s College Cambridge

Christ, the gladdener of all, without whom nothing is sweet or pleasant, bless, we beg of you, the food and drink of your servants, which you have provided for our bodily sustenance; and grant that we may use these gifts to praise you, and may enjoy them with grateful hearts; grant too that, just as…

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 little Shakespeare

‘This night I hold an old accustom’d feast, Whereto I have invited many a guest, Such as I love; and you among them the store, Once more, most welcome, makes my number more.’ William Shakespeare (1564-1616) Romeo and Juliet, act 1, scene 2, line 20