I can smell the onions and butter simmering and when I step into the kitchen, an amazing sight is before me. There are strands of homemade noodles hanging everywhere. They’re on the cupboard doors, over chair backs and laid out on the counter. Flour puffs off the hands of a kerchief wearing little lady and hangs in the air. A pot of boiling water welcomes the noodles and soon we’re seated at the table. I don’t understand the language very well but I know that there’s much love.
Now I can smell cream, onions and chicken. The language is the same but the lady at the stove is taller. She moves around the kitchen with ease, managing to be a part of all the conversations and still put an amazing meal on the table. We gather around and soak in the love.
I’m a bit older now and there’s a variety of smells that greet me on a daily basis. Breakfast is shared by 4 of us, with either dad or mom at the stove. Lunch and supper are a revolving variety of people. Baba’s and Dede’s, aunts, uncles, cousins and an endless number of friends. They came because they were passing through. They came because they wanted some time in the country or it was a holiday. Sometimes it was a birthday celebration and other times it was just for a bit of conversation. The table was where we gathered.
Fast forward a number of years and I’m the one at the stove. I’m cooking for my husband and then kids. The table continues to be a gathering place for conversation and relationship. It’s birthday parties, Sunday dinners, treating friends to Ukrainian food and much love.
In recent years, running a retreat centre provided more opportunities to prepare a gathering place around the table with delicious food. Along with my sister, Audrey, we scoured cookbooks & the internet, searching out recipes that would honor our guest’s palates. The smells of the food cooking created anticipation for the upcoming meal. We knew from watching our grandmothers & mother, that great food enhanced the gatherings.
We also opened our home to college students while our sons were attending PRBI. We never knew when kids needed a place to gather & rest. It was so much fun to feed them while they visited, creating a home away from home. Sometimes we gathered inside the house and other times it was around the campfire. As always, there was much love.
Most recently, we prepared the food for the wedding of 2 of our “adopted” kids. To see the enjoyment as people gathered at the tables was such a blessing. No doubt, there could have been much celebration without the food but as usual, a delicious meal seemed to add much.
I end with this encouragement. Take the time to prepare something tasty and invite others to gather at your table. Season it with love & good conversation and the blessings will come back in abundance for the rest of your life.