Monday, September 13, 2010

Prayer #131: Pastability

A nest of fettuccine, handmade in my kitchen!

I will never eat dry pasta out of a box the same way again. I have nothing against the mass-manufactured gluten sticks -- they do in a pinch -- but I have now made pasta in my own kitchen among friends on a cool day, and I cannot go back.

We covered the kitchen island, our hands, and our aprons in unbleached flour. The sauce bubbled behind us on the stove, tempting us with perfumed steam every time we went to stir, with meatballs peeking around the wooden spoon.

When the dough rested, so did we with sips of afternoon wine. Machines had no part in our day; every New Jersey-shaped sheet and wobbly cut was rolled and sliced by hand. Our appetites grew along with the nests on the baking sheets. The salted water couldn't boil fast enough.

Though we had chatted our way through all the dough mounds and pot lids, our table fell silent when we finally raised our forks. The moment of truth was al dente, saucy, chock-full of late summer herbs, and imbued with the filling satisfaction of having sung for our supper.

Perfectly made does not necessarily mean perfect-tasting. Popping open a jar of sauce and hitting buttons on the microwave feeds only my body. Friends do not laugh over the pasta I buy in boxes.

I am ruined.

Prayer #131: Pastability

Just as dough rests, with future shapes and plates a mystery, so I wait for You to knead me. Work on me until I no longer resist, until I am pliant and responsive.

Then work through my hands, imperfect as their owner, but willing to execute what the brain dictates and the heart demands. Lend Your strength to what I knead as well, so I have something to contribute to the boiling pot before it evaporates into a vision of what might have been.

Only then can I add chairs and silverware and invite others to join me, for only then will I truly nourish them. Satisfy this need in me, and we can feed the world.

Amen.

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