What’s the single most important thing you accomplished in 2010?
I found support and confidence in cooking, even for loads of people. I’m not ready to open any public eating establishment that offers any kind of choice for the food selection but I can cook a low choice meal for more than 50 people with a some help in the prep and clean up. I can even give direction about what’s needed for those things.
I also gained confidence in the ability to prepare food and invite others to come eat it with us. Over several nights, we have hosted 20+ folks at the parsonage. Other than the crockpot meatloaf that was dry, everything was terrific. I’ve even handed out recipes for some of the food prepared for “Supper with Sarah.”
That may not seem very amazing but over-all cooking is a survival skill not a thriving skill for me. As a mom I feel obligated to feed my children almost daily. Most of the time, I’m more than willing for someone else to provide the necessary ingredients and skills to make that available to them.
For many years of ministry when there was a church potluck, I took nothing. Preaching and cooking on the same morning was too much to handle for me. I finally found a recipe for hashbrown casserole that could be prepared in a crockpot. So I started taking it to church about 4 years ago. They loved it! I thought “Good. I have my one dish and I’m sticking to it.” That hashbrown casserole recipe has been my one repeated cooking success across several venues.
But my internal thoughts about cooking have been best summed up by a sign in my kitchen window (from Sam Moon btw) that reads: “Many people have eaten my cooking and gone on to lead normal lives.” I have not considered cooking “in my skill set” ever. But I’m kinda, maybe starting to count it.
Recognizing that this may sound like the preacher I am, this all came about because God worked in a strange and mysterious way for me to think that cooking for anyone was a good idea. Here’s part of that story.
After being a “sous chef” for a youth mission trip with a less than organized “chef.” I realized that I could do better than he had. … wait, did I just have the thought that I could cook for a group of 65 better than someone else??? Yes, I did. And it was true. So I did it again the next summer with a “chef” with skills and gained more confidence.
Then I went to a continuing education event (affectionately known as BE 3) cherishing the time I would spend with folks I already knew and looking forward to meeting others. For me, the topic was secondary; the people primary. But something about Sacred Hospitality and eating together started simmering in me in such a way that months later I found myself organizing “Supper with Sarah” several weeks in a row. Then, (how did I get to this point again???) I invited people to my house to eat. September, October, November, and December all had guests arrive to eat and laugh. It has been great!
Last week, it was our turn to provide the meal at the local homeless shelter serving about 80 that night. I made what my family calls “THE green beans.” Person after person came back for the chopped pork sandwiches and (to my pleased amazement) for more green beans. “Bubba Don” who has reputation within our church for delicious barbecue provided the meat. My contribution has now been renamed “Sister Sarah’s green beans.” I’ve been invited to bring them to a potluck anytime. Now I have TWO dishes! That night from the back of the kitchen, someone said Don and I should put together a food truck: Bubba Don’s BBQ w/Sister Sarah’s sides.
Let me assure you that it was the conviction of the Holy Spirit moving within that pulled all of this together. I would have never, never, never done this completely on my own. I’m still amazed that it happened. And, I’m even more amazed that I plan to continue.