Authors

18
August
2013

The Scent of Unconditional Love

Cinnamon Rolls After School

School has started here in the Southwest.  Busses are plodding along full of children, parents are arranging their lives to accommodate school schedules, and teachers are facing a new year with this crop of kids and youth.

When I was young, still in elementary school, 11 perhaps, my maternal grandmother, Alice, came to live with us.  She had been widowed the year before, after 42 years as a farm wife in the countryside of North Dakota.  A woman of modesty and humor, she was married to the northern prairie and survived those years of plucking chickens, hot winds, feeding farm hands, growing most of the family’s food, and blizzards with grit and fortitude, as farming and ranching folks often do. 

After the farm sold at auction, she began a new chapter of her life.  Finally she was free to be her lively, travel-loving, urban self.  As a young woman she had traveled from North Dakota to exotic places like Lake Louise in British Columbia, and then worked far from home in Seattle.  She thrived in the energy of the city and only left when she was called home because of a dear cousin’s death. 

Marrying Adolph, the farmer who promised they’d move to town one day, she acclimated to life on the farm but never really liked it.  Like many women, she made the best of things and raised her children with love and attention -- and one eye on the horizon!

When she came to live with our family near Los Angeles, we just scooted over and made room, making her welcome.  She, in turn, looked for how to love us back.  And gosh, did she find ways!  One of them was baking.  You know where this is going.

Grandma Alice timed the cinnamon buns, the homemade dinner rolls and the cookies to be coming out of the oven as we were arriving home from school.  And then there was the bread, still warm, sliced and blanketed with butter.  We could smell the aroma from outside the house, dropping book bags at the door and running to the kitchen. 

Now, years later, I realize why I’m always drawn to bakeries and baked goods.  It’s not the sweets that draw me in, really.  It’s the unconditional love wafting on the aroma.  I don’t even have to buy anything.  The scent alone is enough to make me smile and say, “Thanks, Grandma!  I love you, too.”

So, friends, what aroma or scent reminds you of unconditional love?  Last night friends shared their versions:  the smell of rain, the smell of warm biscuits baked by a grandmother, a mother’s favorite blue soap.  And you? 

Categories: Deep Dish Categories, Deep Dish Archive, Authors, August

31
July
2013

A Festival for Bread!

How great is that?!

The aroma of bread, freshly baked and warm, was wafting from a huge white tent right next to Notre Dame in Paris.  That scent, even more than my curiosity, pulled me into “La Fête du Pain,” the festival of bread.  Where else but France, where bread is so fundamental, a cornerstone of the diet? Served at every meal in generous quantities, bread is one delicious business!

Their bread is delicate, flavorful, needing no spread of any kind.   It stands very well on its own.  Indeed, it is considered rude, gauche even, to ask for butter.

bagettesbakingedSo there was the white tent, beckoning.  I succumbed to the lure and became engulfed in the world of French baking.  Ovens lined the entire back wall of the long space and we, the hungry admirers, could watch baguettes turning golden.  We moved along the other side of the tent, with dozens of bakers busy at work in between:  kneading dough, rolling dough, shaping dough, tending the rising, tending the baking – all oblivious to those of us gawking and drooling nearby.

As we moved along the aisle, windows to the left revealed the spires of the famous cathedral, yet we couldn’t help but give our real attention to other chefs pitting cherries, peeling applies, sprinkling cinnamon, and stirring crème Anglaise.    Tarts and pastries were underway and coming out of the next set of ovens.  Oh, be still my heart.  I want that, and that, and that!pastriesed

Finally the counter for viewing the results of all that pastry pampering and an opportunity for making a purchase.  How to choose?  Will it be the apricot turnover, the apple galette, a slice of the raspberry tart or a whole loaf of fresh bread?   What would you choose?

InsideLaFeteedI chose an authentic community event.  The day was a national holiday in France and between the natives and the tourists, Paris was swarming.  The line to get into Notre Dame was 4 people wide and a quarter mile long, winding past the grandstands and down a narrow street.  Cathedrals are important places of worship, art and history and, at that moment, a festival full of life and vibrancy was more attractive.  “La Fête du Pain” was about something essential and universal, something humans make with love and creativity in the present moment to share with others.  

Choosing to live life in the present, whether it’s at a festival in the park or a walk with a loved one down one’s own street, is a way to acknowledge how grateful we are for life, how wonderful it is to be breathing and living today.  May your days be filled with such choices, and with the aroma of fresh, warm bread.

Cheers!

Rebecca, Pie Pal #1

 

Categories: Deep Dish Categories, Deep Dish Archive, 2013, Authors, July

20
November
2012

Remembering Hope

“God is good,” said the rabbi, the priest and the minister.  No, not the opening line of a joke.  That’s really what they said last night.

The three spiritual leaders all said the same thing, adding, “And we give thanks.” 

And so it is.  With a prayer sung for peace by the rabbi, with an African folk song sung by the Catholic high school choir, and with a story from the retired Presbyterian minister, the shared energy was about being grateful to be spiritual beings having a human experience, where there is a Divine presence always with us…and to be grateful for that.

There are awful things in life.  There are many people suffering, many beings suffering.  Did you know that right now, there are bombs going off in the Middle East and dolphins are being shot in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of North America? People in the NE part of the US are still trying to get their lives together after the devastation of superstorm Sandy.  No one is denying there is suffering. 

So, let us be grateful, very grateful.  If you are reading this, you are one of the lucky ones.  You are one of the ones with abundance. 

The offering last night was taken up on behalf of the local homeless shelter [I’m visiting in the San Fernando Valley].  The director said that there are 60,000 homeless people in the Los Angeles area, that it’s the “homeless capital of America.”  There are people experiencing homelessness in every city in America, though, and we love those people.  We who are capable of love without separation or judgment, who see ourselves in the eyes of everyone around us, know that we are connected. 

Please, in gratitude for our connectedness, if you can, share with those who have less, those who will see the love in your eyes and remember hope. 

Blessings to all, Rebecca

Written by: Rebecca Jo Dakota Categories: Deep Dish Categories, Authors, December

16
December
2011
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