Steve’s birthday falls on the heels of Thanksgiving. On a Sunday this year. After he woke up, he moseyed into the kitchen and shoveled a slice of French apple pie onto a plate.
“You know I fix a special breakfast on Sundays – extra special since it’s your birthday,” I reminded him.
Steve paused. Deep in thought. Not a muscle twitched. “Haven’t you cooked enough? Aren’t you tired of cooking?”
Not really. Breakfast is easy. But I knew what he was really saying. Because Steve is a man of things “unsaid”. What he wanted was pie for breakfast. Nothing to do with all my Thanksgiving cooking.
So I left it alone. No reason to upset his illusion of giving me a break from cooking. Now even I could enjoy a breakfast of pumpkin pie blanketed in whipped cream. A win-win in my book.
Decades ago when I visited my mother-in-law with one of my littles, we fixed lunch while my toddler napped. Suddenly, she stopped, and with a gleam in her eye, announced, “Let’s eat dessert first in case we are too full to eat it after lunch.”
There you have it: the origin of Steve’s sweet tooth. Something sweet with the meal. A spoonful of jelly with a bite of eggs. Honey drizzled on rice. Ketchup on most meals. Salad doused in Thousand Island dressing.
Following in his dad’s footsteps, one of our sons proudly prefers a mountain of jelly on his toast. Now that he’s in his 40s, though, he’s forsaken his love affair with candy. But not jelly. Ha!
I might mention that I’m kind of a health food nut. In the early 80s after reading William Dufty’s “Sugar Blues”, I removed refined and sugary food from our family diet. That set me on an organic journey that included grinding wheat berries to bake homemade bread each week.
Never one to purchase prepared treats or meals anyway, I cooked everything from scratch. In our circles, I became well-known for my homemade treats. Homemade apple butter. Homemade peanut butter. Homemade pies, cakes, and cookies. Homemade jello. Homemade popsicles. Homemade cinnamon rolls. Homemade ketchup. Homemade mayonnaise. You name, I probably made it from scratch.
Fast forward to now, my mountain-of-jelly-on-toast-son still refuses to eat store-bought fruit leather – even the organic ones. Anything packaged lacks the power-packed flavor of freshly picked blackberries dehydrated into homemade fruit leather. According to him, it’s the bomb.
Food. We all love it. Some are meat lovers, others fancy veggies, while many feed their sweet tooth. Not everyone enjoys cooking, so they dine out more often. Me? Unless there’s a trained chef that adds his magic to a meal, I prefer home-cooking.
Regardless, whether beef bourguignon or coffee and donuts, food brings folks together. Times of celebration with a houseful of loved ones or romantic settings with couples. In ancient days, sharing a meal created a covenant, a bond. They never ate with others lightly.
That’s a tradition I can appreciate - creating bonds with others over food no matter how elegant or simple. Because after all, people are more important than ingredients. And, of course, pie for breakfast with my honey will always be on the menu.