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  • Writer's pictureLeigh

The Cookbook Project: Breaking Eggs

How did we get ourselves into this? So I have asked myself any number of times during the past year or so as I've struggled with lost and found recipes, finicky software, reluctant hardware (including a 20-year-old computer), fancy cameras, broken dishes, dirty dishes, hot ovens, picky eaters, and hungry family members who are more interested in dinner now than dinner exalted and photographed. Working in my cramped kitchen has been far from "a piece of cake," because I don't have room to put down the hot baking pans holding the cakes. Plus, I've reconnected with the notion that eggs don't bounce. If you don't catch them when you knock them out of the bowl, those little suckers head straight to the edge of the counter and then, yes, splat!, right on the used-to-be-clean floor. How come that never happens to Ina? Cooking is not always, "how easy is that!"

Nor is life! Many of us face circumstances that are far from easy.

The good news is, there is good news. Early in this project, Dad provided for inclusion in the cookbook scripture readings from the Bible and reflections that tell a story of other, long ago but contemporary-sounding, struggles. A story of people who suffered and walked in darkness. A story of a poor, young couple who made a long, weary trip because taxes were due. A story of a babe who was born in a manger in a stable. A story of a Christ Child who brings us face-to-face with God and lights the way to a love that does not let us go, no matter who we are and what our circumstances might be.

If you look on bookstore and library shelves, you’ll see plenty of books that offer tips to make December “the best season ever” and that provide “everything you could wish for” to make your life and your Christmas “easy and enjoyable.” Believe me, I’ve checked through those books. Magazines and internet sites, too. The reality is that the books, magazines, and on-line sites have nice pictures of decorations and even great recipes, but that’s all. The contents of the books, magazines, and websites haven’t brought me comfort and joy, nor have they made me content, no matter which entertaining tips and recipes I’ve tried. I need more than coordinated wrapping paper, a glittering table, and a super-juicy turkey with all the trimmings. I suspect other people do, too.

So, we are continuing our work in an effort to offer something that will deepen your understanding of Advent and what it means. When marketing efforts increase our worries, the pressure to decorate, feed, entertain, and buy gifts builds, and the lights look more annoying than sparkling, isn’t that what we really seek? Something that will nourish our souls, as well as our bodies?

As you can see from this blog, we also are working on a cookbook. We hope to provide recipes for people of all budgets—from limited to comfortable. So you'll see some postings that highlight cheap eats and others that feature kind of pricey foods. I've been grocery shopping in fancy stores (only a few, I'm really pretty cheap!), big-box stores, and in stores where those on tight budgets are more likely to find food. I figure that if I can manage with a set budget to buy food and turn out pretty tasty and nutritious stuff in my small, messy kitchen without being a gourmet chef, then you can, too. And if I lose a few eggs and don't always use "best quality olive oil" in the process, so be it. I'm not Ina.

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