I've been thinking about food a lot these past couple of days. Possibly because my life has slowed down enough to cook again. But maybe because with the holidays comes all kinds of special food.
Over the weekend, my mom and my niece and nephew made peanut butter cookies with chocolates kisses. For the past couple of days, I've been snacking on peanut brittle from Trader Joe's. And at work this week, we had special breakfast food brought in, not just once, but twice. Food is everywhere.
It's also Friday, which means I could write about food AND join Ann for her Food on Fridays. So, today, a double treat. First, an Advent post from the archives all about food. Then, my favorite recipe for homemade wheat bread. Enjoy!
As someone who loves to cook, and loves to eat, food always plays a big role in my celebrations of any kind, especially holidays.
It's not necessarily the same foods each year, though I do look forward to Jim's pancakes at our annual Sunday School class Christmas brunch. And the holidays just wouldn't be the same without some of my mom's homemade peanut butter balls or some of Renae's sausage biscuit bites at her annual Christmas open house.
But it's thinking about, preparing and shopping for, and then cooking and serving and eating food that's especially significant to me. Holiday food takes into consideration more than just sustenance. It's an opportunity to consider others' tastes and to share; it's an opportunity to be a little extravagant and to give thanks; and it's a way to bring in all of our senses - hearing, seeing, smelling, touching, tasting - as we experience the joy of celebrating.
Jesus also used food as a way of celebrating, but also remembering and looking ahead, when he broke bread and drank from a cup. He took ordinary food, food the disciples would serve to each other again and again, and he made it holy by connecting it to himself. This wasn't so that the disciples would eat bread and drink wine only in church. But so that each time they ate bread and drank wine, wherever they were, they would remember Jesus, both his sacrifice and promise to return.
That's what I want my holiday food to be like this Advent: not something I eat only on a special day or two. But food I eat all year that reminds me there's something more than eating and drinking. So that even while I am eating bread, I might remember that man does not live by bread alone.
Whole Wheat Bread
This recipe is for a bread maker. I let the bread maker mix, knead, and rise, then I pull the dough out, put it in a greased pan to rise for 30 minutes in a warm place, and then I bake it in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.
For a 1 1/2 pound bread maker
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons water
4 teaspoons honey or sugar (I use honey)
1 tablespoon margarine or butter (I use butter)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups bread flour (if you use all purpose flour, add 4 tsps vital wheat gluten)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
Add the ingredients to the bread machine according to manufacturer's directions. Select the dough setting. When complete, see directions above for baking.
More Advent Links . . .
Ted Gossard's The Humanity of Christmas
David Rupert's Advent for Aliens
Photo by Chiot's Run. Used with permission under the Creative Common's License.