A New Table & Recipe

A New Table & Recipe

tableWe have a new addition to our home. Not a wee one yet, although only eleven weeks to go! Sunday, my parents brought us the dining room table and chairs from my grandparents’ farm. As Daddy and Matt were putting the chairs around the table, one of them placed the chair with arms at the head of the table. And I could so clearly see my Papaw sitting in that chair, spreading sorghum molasses on his biscuits with Folgers coffee in the cup next to him. I could see those strong, tanned hands from many years spent herding cows reach out across the table to grab the hands of those near him to say grace. When the light hits it just right, you can see little dimples in the wood. I imagine my mom sitting at the same table as a little girl.  Much of our life happens around the table. This isn’t just a piece of wood. It is the place where Matt tells me about his day. It’s where Lydia is learning to read. It’s where Charlotte has already figured out how to scale new heights–literally. It’s where, Lord willing, this sweet baby kicking and squirming while I write will take his or her first bites, and it’s where our Ethiopian child will learn what family means.

Monday morning, with Charlotte wearing an ensemble of swimsuits and plastic princess heels and with Lydia still in her pajamas, we sat around with my parents and christened the table in its new home with pumpkin chocolate chip bread, scrambled eggs, and bacon. This morning while I did my priority time, I ran my fingers along the grain thinking of the million memories varnished in its sheen and of the million more I hope to make. We will continue to gather around that table, light a candle, and share this crazy, wonderful, hard life together.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

recipe from my sis-in-law many years ago

Ingredients

  • 1-15 oz can pumpkin
  • 3.5 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 4 eggs
  • 1-2 cups chocolate chips (to taste)

Mix wet ingredients in mixer. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and add to mixer. Grease loaf pans well. (Note: this recipe makes three large loaves or one large loaf and four mini loaves.) Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

All you need to know is this tastes like fall to me. And, also, if your local Memphis Kroger is sold out of pumpkin… it wasn’t me. (Except it was. And I’m sorry. But not really.)

 

This Thing Called We

This Thing Called We

IMG_4968Matt and I were married for almost five years before we had our first child. And in those five years, we ate at our dining table maybe a half dozen times. We would come home from work, cook dinner or reheat leftovers and crash on the couch, the coffee table serving as our table, watching television, talking about our day. Between bites of stir-fry or homemade pizza, we watched Jack Bauer take out bad guys and every single episode of Friends on DVD. Dinner was a relaxing affair, a soft spot after working all day.

But once Lydia was born, things started to change. Baby food entered the picture and, with it, a move from the couch to the dining room. I uncovered our table which, by this point, had become the catch-all for bags, purses, jackets, stamps, dog leashes and anything else we needed to grab on the way out the door. Instead of balancing plates on our knees, we set the table. (Of course, the silverware is never in its proper place.) Since that day we have had dinner around that table almost every weeknight.

The meals aren’t always gourmet. While I love to cook, sometimes life just gets a little crazy and you make do. I try to keep a few things on hand so that I can always throw together a meal quickly. My favorite fast meals are black bean tacos, chicken sausages and sweet potato fries I get from Costco or baked potatoes and salad. Last night’s dinner consisted of one of those California Kitchen BBQ chicken pizzas from the frozen food aisle. Exotic, huh? And don’t get any illusions of Matt and me staring deep into each other’s eyes. Usually, Lydia is entertaining us with a new fairy story and Charlotte is feeding sweet potato chunks to the dogs. And, almost always, something gets spilled. But for thirty minutes, okay… twelve and a half minutes… we get to all be together, within inches of each other. We laugh. We talk. Sometimes, we plot early bedtimes. And we remember that these people, the ones who sit around our table… we are a team, a tribe. We are family. And for a few minutes each day, we come together to remember and celebrate this thing called we.