Rising early this morning to bake a birthday cake for my son, I pulled out the 9×13 glass Pyrex dish for baking. A grumble and murmur of complaint came to my morning thoughts as my finger stuck to the sides; a side effect of having a birthday the week after Thanksgiving.
My first thought, is that I should teach the boys how to clean these baking dishes a bit better. My mom would have me get every tiny speck of burnt on brown off of her stainless steel and glass bake ware after each meal. We were not allowed to soak the pan, they had to go in the cupboard clean before we could join the neighborhood kids for evening play. It was a good thing, as she was/is a wonderful cook, and needed her supplies ready for the next day.
As I was scrubbing the pot, I realized that the grumbling was no longer focused on the boys, but that annoying still quiet voice said, my murmuring stemmed out of the worry of what the other parents would think of the brown handles at the park party.
I’m pretty sure that 11 year old boys covered in sand, mud, salamander goo and wood chips are not concerned with the plate that the choco goodness arrives in.
And this is the part I wanted to share with you – I was reminded of my Sister In Law Tish today, as I often am in the kitchen. I heard her words, from those first weeks of spending Christmas with her family in Missouri. She had bake ware sitting on the counter soaking, a new idea to me. She also swished them out, and put them back in the cupboard. I finally got up the courage to ask why – my 19 year old brain could not comprehend dirty dishes in the cupboard!
From Tish – I never know how many people are going to show up for a meal. I make enough waffles and bacon for breakfast each day for 15-20 as I never know how many men are going to stop by and see Johnny. (her hubby) They seem to be able to smell the bacon from town 15 miles away. I bake dozens of loaves of bread, and provide huge lunches and dinners each day like I’m running a logging camp. The focus is on the gathering. The food. The fellowship. Nourishing these working bodies, and having their meal breaks be a relaxing enjoyable time. I like to sit and help them put honey on their bread and tell jokes. Not one of those guests are going to push their plate back and step away from the table because one of my glass dishes has food that has been long since baked on to stay there forever. Cook for the joy of providing for others, not for something to clean up later.
She kept a constant warm soapy sink in her kitchen, and I think I counted over 2 dozen times that she rinsed out the food processor in the afternoon of baking together.
So – hearing her encouraging words in my mind again this morning, I left just a little bit of burnt on brown on the plate handles.
My beautiful sister Tish went to be with the Lord on Jonny’s birthday just a few years ago. His celebration of birth, and her celebration of ending her pain on this earth. I want to be thankful for every moment that I was able to soak up her joy, wisdom, hard work ethic, servanthood and mothering. Always wishing there were more time here, knowing we will meet again, savoring the time we had. Love to you Bug Tish!