It was the day after Christmas and the kitchen counters were still lined with tiered plates and footed candy bowls offering sweet confections, towering over platters spread with cookies. My little man stood eyeing the dishes.
"Mama, what I'm really craving is your bread."
Sustenance. Basic. Familiar. Nourishing.
For a flash of a moment I was surprised. And then I smiled, knowingly. Warm memories rose in my senses as if the aroma of my mom's bread baking golden could be savored wafting through the kitchen. This singular aroma stirs tender thoughts of holidays, my mom, home.
So here comes my own little man quietly, wistfully seeking the basics. Amid the flurry of life, sometimes we just need the most simple of needs met. Isn't that what motherhood is really about? Nurturing our families through meeting their most basic, yet essential, needs?
Sometimes I think the treasured joys of my days must seem entirely mundane to much of the world. Baking, gardening, sewing, teaching. Days are about kissing the mistakes away, dishing up hot meals and reading bedtime stories. Those perpetual acts are home more than a house could ever be.
When I was but a little girl with bronzed cheeks, dark braids and bare feet, my mom offered up home in the same way. When I would nap in the afternoon, I would often find a new little purse or doll's dress sewn and waiting for me on the door knob when I woke. When the mail came, we would race down the lane... and I would always win. When she washed dishes, I climbed up to play in the bubbles. She made more oatmeal pies, no-bake cookies and bread-and-butter pickles from our fresh cucumbers than I could ever number. It was a million simple acts that were home.
The world woos us with the sophisticated, the glamorous, but when we hunger for the essence of life... when we find ourselves craving to fill a void... the simple nurturing acts of home sustain and satisfy. No matter how far we are in our journeys through life, a home-cooked meal and a good night kiss, an embrace that enfolds and a look that knows... these are the things that never fail to feed the soul.
Tonight I pull out Mom's handwritten recipe card. It bears her signature smiley face and a few splattered stains of use. And I drink in home.
For every simple act seen and unseen, past and present, which continue to feed my soul... thank you, Mom. I love you heaps.
P.S. Just in case the whole bread-baking thing has eluded you, Mom's recipe is really quite indestructible. So from our homes to yours, Happy Mother's Day!
2 pkgs dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 cup lukewarm water.
Let stand five-ten minutes until it begins to bubble a bit.
1 cup of really warm, not boiling, water
5 Tblsp sugar
2 Tsp salt
6 Tblsp melted butter
6 cups all-purpose flour
Once dough is thoroughly mixed, pour out on floured dough board and knead until fairly smooth. Use dustings of flour to help handle the dough as needed. Place in a buttered, heat-safe bowl that you have warmed in the oven (not hot). Let dough rise in a warm place and cover with a cloth. Let it double in size. Punch it down. Preheat oven to 375 - 400 degrees. Place dough in a greased loaf pan or shape into rolls in muffin tins and let double again. Bake until top is golden. Roughly 45 minutes for loaves and 25 minutes for rolls. (Inhale deeply and have the butter ready.)