Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Sharing of Food - A tribute to Trudy's Rouladen

Before I get wrapped into this sharing let me state a few things about myself. I live alone, I come from a largish family – there are 5 siblings, I love to read; (3-4 books a week-sometimes more), I have two children, but only one that I had the Wonder and Mystery of being raised by, I am a vegetarian by nature; ( longer now then I was ever a Carnivore), and I love to cook for others.

Recently my friends have given me stories on food, so far in the past 2 months I have read- The Sharper your Knife the Less you Cry, Julia and Julie (perhaps that is the other way around and indeed I saw the movie), Comfort Me with Apples, My Life in Food. In the past if the title of a book had anything to do with food – well of course I read it!

Food memory is Powerful! I think I would put it right up there with our sense of smell. Which of course is a very large part of food itself. Certain foods can take us back to moments long pass, fill us with dread around the Holi-daze; who doesn’t have some food story that wraps and weaves itself into the making or breaking of the Holiday? Willingness to try new unfamiliar foods, can catch in our heart.

Rules around the dos and don’ts of food, usually ethnic and religious in their beginnings. Then there are the ways to eat certain foods. What makes it a finger food? Or cultures, where the utensil is a food in itself? Chop sticks, spoons, forks and knives? What is the social implication of how we eat, fast, slow; (we’re the last one eating). Enjoying every bite as we savor the smell, taste, gifting gratitude for the food itself. The beauty of it on the plate. The feelings of the person preparing and the love that the food was given as it was planted, given birth?

There is also the recipe – cookbooks and are you a sharer? Or do you guard the ‘family recipe’ like a treasure that nobody but Aunt Edna had and at her passing You were the one it came to, now it falls on you to protect it. For me I am a recipe sharer if I make something that you want to know how to make I am glad to share with you. I will even give the changes I have made to a recipe so that you can see how it became what it is now.

Which brings me to the recipe at hand, it holds many memories, it is one of the first meals my former husband Griff ate at my mother’s table. My personal memory is my mother, Trudy wanted the poor man to eat more. I fixed it first for my daughter after she returned form her father’s one time – he had shared his story of that dinner; I’d been a vegetarian for a number of years by then so it wasn’t on the top of my list. Ok, we’d invite friends. It is the meal that I am most often asked to make by both my daughter and grand-daughter. In years past I have been known to make a batch, freeze it and send it home on the plane. One year I heard that Huntyr’s smiled and said to her parents as she got off the plane at the end of her summer visit – “I have Rouladen in my luggage!”; even before the hello. Yes, it is indeed a recipe with a story in my family.

I invite you to share your story of some dish that opens your heart, that says Love in the depth of your soul. I wonder if this recipe holds as much weight in my sibling’s story. For me it holds a sense of wonder and love that was my mother. I would invite us to touch base with the creative nature we find in food. Many blessings be at your table today and always. Where is it that you find a love story told by food? Eat with this love in your Heart and all food will nourish your soul.

Grandma Trudy’s Rouladen

Know from the beginning you are not making this dish for tonight – but for tomorrow. It truly makes a difference. Call ahead to make sure the butcher is in and can cut this for you. As it is somewhat labour intensive I plan ahead for a 2nd meal.

Top Round sliced very thin- count 2 slices per person
Pickles – cut into 4ths planning on a quarter per slice
Bacon- one slice per slice
Onions- cut into an 8ths –1 each per slice
A good mustard
Salt and Pepper
Last nights red wine or open a bottle- don’t make it cheap!

I roll my pickles and onion slices with the bacon, then lay out the steak. With your steak laid out spread with mustard, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Now roll your BOP bundles up in the meat. Trudy wrapped these with thread, I find it easier to use a wooden tooth pick.
As you roll them, sear these meat parcels in a very hot pan. I usually throw a couple of pieces of bacon in the pan to help with a touch of moisture and fat. As they are seared all round, put into a larger stew pot. When they are all in the pot, pour a water into the searing pan to get all those yummy juices. Pour over meat in stew pot. Add a little more water if need to just barley cove the meat. Throw a splash or two of wine in, this will later become a matter of taste. I pour the wine in the now empty mustard jar shake to get all that goodness from the jar. Bring this all just to a simmer hold there for about an hour. Turn off. Cool. When cool place in fridge, remember you’re making tomorrows dinner. Serve with boiled small potatoes, cooked red cabbage.

My hands a picture taken by T. Griffin while she and I fixed this dish

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Right and Privilege

Do we know the difference of these things? We count our freedom and the ‘right to speak freely’ as if it were not a privilege. We grumble about our wages, our work, the bills we have to pay. That we can pay them at all is a privilege. All of these in essence are really privileges. I am sorry to say that at times I also forget that in many ways I am privileged. I had/have a roof over my head, I learned the value of good food. I was/am loved by my parents and friends. Given an education, that I did not have to fight for the right to receive.

I started to look at this all a bit closer recently as I was putting together a menu for a retreat that I am blessed to be the Honoured Kitchen Diva. I thought about the food I was preparing, the quality of that which would be purchased; the attitude that would stand in the kitchen. I was struck suddenly with a realization of what a privilege it was for me to be able to fix healthy food, to feed others with love and care.

Healthy food. Food that would feed not only the bodies of the women attending, but their souls as well. It got me to thinking that yes, even the fact that we would eat three meals a day is a true luxury and privilege. I thought back to food I didn’t like as a child or didn’t want to eat. When I was told there were starving children around the world, my constant retort would be – “Then send it to them!”

Yet, here I am today working again on my menu for a weekend – that in itself is a privilege. That I have the time to ponder and am not having to be out forging for some scrap of food that is covered with mold. Having had my morning meal of oatmeal, and a cup of Joe. I could come back to my computer or pencil and paper working out the details. I also did not have in the back of my mind a worry about shelter or food, the very basic of rights for all living creatures. I could sit in the Joy of the process. Able to conjure the scents, colour and textures.

I count myself blessed to know the luxury of hunger. Indeed it is a luxury when you find yourself hungry and know that it is fairly easy to change the situation. How might my life be different if I had to wonder how I was to find my next meal, not what I would be eating, just that I would be able to eat?

To share a meal, to gather together to meet a basic need. To cook and prepare a meal with love in my heart. To honour how the food made it to the table, the work that went into the planting, harvesting, getting it to the market. Even living alone, we can take a moment to be grateful for the food in front of us. To notice what it is we are eating, even when it happens to be a bag of potato chips. To honour the gift of physical nourishment.

I ask that we give some thought to the places of our own privileges. How might we bring a more grateful heart to those places? I don’t have an answer, other then to suggest that it is in the noticing, the being present to them. To invite ourselves to experience the privileges we have completely alive in the moment.

Blessings to you. It is a privilege to be in the world with YOU!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Relegated to be Lost Forever


Oh, she put us in the basement
We sobbed and cried
No, no please not the basement
We'll be relegated to be lost forever more!
Inside of closets, hidden in boxes
She might, just maybe

But the basement?
Relegated to be lost forever
How could one women own so much
The hordes of music, shoes and art stuff
That could, would, SHOULD become
She gets fractured, needs to be anchored
For it all to become clear
She might, just maybe
Love anchors her
Holds her safe.

Open us all, pass on what's needed
Wanted else where
Turn us to Beauty,
De - clutter us all
Banish her to the basement
Send her there to do her art
Relegated to the basement
Will she then be lost forever?
Hidden from sight?

This house fills with Love
Spills out in measures untold
Anchored, she will bloom again
Be seen, be held, be heard
Relegated no place,
Everything in motion.
So rest for a bit in the basement
You are not lost forever
You are waiting at the boat yard
Waiting to embark

Relegated to the basement?
A closet? A box?


as you can see this is an older piece - read it to a friend and wanted to share it here - Thank you AL

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Emotion- Grief

Grief is an emotion or a sense that we don’t often take into account. It comes in to play at the loss of a loved one, or the end of a relationship. There are other times as well, some that it seems odd that it would be there. Moving for one. Yet do we recognize it’s effect or sometimes how long it is that we are living in a low grade version? Our society wants us always to Move On, Let it GO. We want to hide away from the uncomfortable.

Today ~ August 8th, is one of those days for me. It is an anniversary of the loss of my Mom; and oddly enough at this moment I can’t say how long Trudy has been gone. For me – today and when ever I need to say, “Oh, my Mom has passed on.” I find myself feeling like an orphan. I find myself raw!

I find that other events of grief seem to all come together in a bundle when I’m in the moment and clutches of Grief. I am also grateful for those moments, the tides of my truly blessed Life. There is a certain amount of luxury that comes with being able to feel and be in an emotion. To sit with and be consumed by the feelings. To be in the belly, the pit of fire, the tears that wash us clean.

I am also grateful for my Friends, that do not judge this about me, they allow the space I need. They give a gentle call here and there –“touching base”, to bring me into the rest of my world. I am an isolator when I am deeply in emotion. I feel the need to hide away, for it seems that most of society does not want us to FEEL; we are labeled too intense, too much. I laugh easy and cry just as easy. I am grateful and blessed by friends that can live with both of these full body responses to Life. I am always struck by how difficult it is for some folks to be around any kind of display of emotion. Our labels of these places of emotion, place a judgment of good or bad upon an event, a moment in a life. Why not invite the BEING in the whatever it is?

Today, I would invite each of us to remember to tell those close to us that they are loved. For one moment they are here and then everything changes. I would invite us to live our lives as fully and as present as we can. To not hide away from joy, sorrow, grief, laughter, fear. I believe it is easier to be with these places that are uncomfortable when we allow ourselves the time needed, instead of ‘moving on’. There is time enough for moving on and past. That comes from living into the moment, allowing, inviting all the bits that belong to the moment and perhaps some that don’t to be pulled out and looked over, touched and given space. Planting seeds of joy, compassion and kindness upon the hurts, the sadness. Let the rains fall, inviting growth.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Summer Child

Plants always remind me that we live in rhythms and cycles. For me the summer begins and ends around the visiting of my beautiful grand-daughter Huntyr. She is a summer child. Born in June days before the Summer Solstice. As we near the time of her arrival each year I find myself in Labour, a kin to the labour I was witness to on the night of her birth. Who will arrive? How long will the time to birth our bond take this year?

At this point summer began, full of rain bringing with it the sunshine smile of Huntyr. She too was somewhat a drift with her coming this summer as she is one- a teenager, two- in transition form the place she has called home for most of her life to her Dad’s childhood place of belonging, and third- who is she becoming and what has Gramie cooked up for this years offerings? Remember she’s a teen now – not as malleable as in some pass summers.

Sharing our own places of sadness and growing there were days when little was said between us. Days of laughter and new experiences; tarot cards, going to a medium, a Despacho Ceremony. A couple of movies and days at the beach – ok – the beach now as a teen became boring! I mean really who as a teen wants to hang on a beach with their Gramie? Days spent with friends of mine who share a desire and love for sewing and cloth. Huntyr, all but for the final quilting worked on a collage with fabric piece that is amazing. Leaving me a box of wonderful scarps of fabric that she gathered – like summer sand and shells they linger here for the moment.

Mom, my daughter arrived late June, and off into the east they did head; with the setting Sun. Taking with them my first stage of summer; leaving a storm of emotion. Loss, quite, a happiness, tears. One would think that having done this for so many summers I would be used to this cycle, yet each time it rolls around it catches me unprepared. Which causes me to wonder~ there are rhythms and cycles of life that we live within. Each time they come around they are different, to be experienced a new. Feeling all there is to the moment, to the time given. I wonder also; did I share with both my daughter Tirzah and my grand-daughter Huntyr how much I love them. Are they able to feel it in their bones, their very being when not here with me. And why is it that just before the leaving there is always some blow out of words, that strike the heart bringing fear. Does it still go back to being able to become independent of our parents? Does it smell of abandonment – knowing they will be leaving, the breakaway wave. I am grateful that Tirzah and I have learned to Breathe into these places, knowing the Love that is shared. I am hoping that the next time we are together; perhaps this cycle will no longer need to assert itself.

With the beginning of my second summer I was left in the quite to look at what cycles no longer serve me. Which ones are a rhythm to a song I no longer wish to sing? Ah, yes here it comes my invitation to you, my friends ~ What cycles are you part of that no longer serve you? What song do you wish to be singing. Can you invite yourself to a rhythm of compassion? How about Being, allowing yourself, your humanness? The days we fall out of sync with our song; gifting the time needed to be out of practice. Knowing there will be ‘…terrible, horrible, no good very bad days.’ (Sometimes just moments.) And afterward we will go back to our practice of Life and have wonderful, amazing, fabulous days. With our Inhalation we can invite the Divine, to fill our hearts and on the Exhalation as it is meant to do release that which does not serve.


i took the picture on my way home form Elsworth during the Monsoon Season.