I’d never much like meatloaf until one day within the last decade, I rummaged through my aunt’s recipes at her kitchen table. I came across a recipe of my great grandmother’s,(Mary Eva, called Maymie to her friends and Muddy to her grandchildren). The recipe for her chili sauce my grandmother made. I’d never much cared for it as a child, but taste buds evolve. I thought I’d give it a try and copied it down.
Maybe it was less about taste buds and more about missing my grandmother. I could see Grandmother’s dining room table, the lace tablecloth, the china with it’s tiny pink and white rosebuds, her best laid out for someone coming to dinner. Two crystal sauce dishes were set – one with her mint jelly, another with her mother’s chili sauce. A pork tenderloin or lamb was on the menu. She loved elegance at the table when company came, both in food and setting. In my youth, while I enjoyed the loveliness of a well-set table, I didn’t have the palate for lamb or pork sauces.
Sometimes, though, as we grow, time produces catalysts that cause us to reach back into the past and vintage the good that we missed. It risks taking a chance, that maybe you won’t like what you find, but there exists the chance something worthwhile may be redeemed in the vintaging.
My older taste buds made friends with Muddy’s Chili Sauce, just like they’d made friends with cabbage in my 40s, Brussle Sprouts, Turnip Greens, meatloaf, and Buttermilk in my 50s. Beets are working their way into my heart since I turned 60 last month. My youngest tells me that’s because my taste buds are older and don’t work as well, aren’t as refined as young taste buds, but that is a debate for another day.
Muddy’s Chili Sauce was a tasteful, successful vintaging. Yes, it enhances lamb and pork. Yet, its flavor even made me hungry for meatloaf, a dish for which I’d never been a fan. . . ever. . . until I spooned Muddy’s Chili Sauce over the top of a meatloaf for cooking – and, well, just WOW! Meatloaf suddenly dazzled my taste buds, not just mine but my husband’s, too! But not the boys, and, if the boys won’t eat it, I rarely bake it.
This Summer of Celebration and the disquieting vein that ran through the days sent me to the kitchen. When the thoughts don’t come, the words don’t come, I go to the kitchen and bake through, working out the disquiet. Someone asked me if my prayer room was The Thinking Room – and, while it is a place pray and read, I think my kitchen might be the most used Prayer Place in the house. I didn’t cook a lot, to the dismay of those living in the house and what I did cook left them disappointed. I started freezing peppers, corn, tomatoes, eggplant parmesan, and then I felt like I needed to make Muddy’s Chili Sauce.
Maybe in every modern era, there’s a hunger to reach back to the old ways, to the old tastes, and find comforting, centering, remembering the good ways, walking in it, even if it’s just from the kitchen sink to the stove, and find rest in those ancient steppings. I wonder if my grandmother experienced the same feelings when she made the old recipes, her mother’s and grandmother’s recipes.
After my jars finished their water baths and pop, pop, popped to seal their goodness, I asked the boys if they wanted meatloaf for dinner. They shook their heads in dismay, backing away from my kitchen.
“Meatballs?” I countered quickly.
Vocalized agreement and relief murmured all around. Exasperated and amused, I said, “You know, meatballs and meatloaf are the same thing, just formed differently?”
They just shrugged their shoulders, repeating meatballs as they moved out the door to work or class.
The little blessings – recipes handed down, conversations with my sons that make me smile, goodness stored up for the winter. Maybe those jars, the taste of them, the recipe tucked away are sign posts for my sons, to remember the old ways, the old paths – and in the remembering, the tasting, to see something of God’s ways, God’s paths in it all.
Do you have a prayer room or room you find where you pray the most? Are there any recipes you make that remind you of the old ways, the old paths? Maybe it’s something besides cooking, a skill passed down? Please share it in the comments. I want to hear about it.
Muddy’s Chili Sauce
1 peck ripe tomatoes
12 mediums onions (chopped)
6 green peppers (chopped)
1 pint brown sugar
1 pint vinegar
3 tablespoons salt
1/2 tablespoon allspice
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon cloves
1 tablespoon paprika
Wash and blanche the tomatoes to remove the skin. To do this, fill a pot to boil with water and dip your tomatoes in the water until you see the skins split, about one minute. You can core the tomato first, or remove the skin after blanching. If you prefer your sauce seedless, I recommend that you core the tomato first and remove seeds before blanching.
After the tomatoes are skinned, put them in a pot, using a tomato masher to help break down the tomatoes yet not turn them into juice. Add chopped onions and green peppers, set to simmer until sauce has thickened. When sauce has thickened, add all other ingredients and let simmer about 30 minutes longer. Place in pint jars and put in a waterbath for 50 minutes. Yield: About 13 pints.
1 lb. Hamburger
1 lb. Lamb
1 lb. Chorzio
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp thyme
1 tbsp oregano
2 tsp. beef bouillon
1 1/2 Cup breadcrumbs soaked in 1/4 cup red vermouth so that the breadcrumbs don’t absorb the juices from the meat.
Mix ingredients and bake at 350 degrees in a loaf pan until done if making meatloaf. If making into meatballs, deep fry until brown and slightly crispy.
This is what the LORD says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look.
Ask for the ancient paths:
‘Where is the good way?’
Then walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls'”
Remember Me Monday: #77 & Link-up
“I’ll make a list of God’s gracious dealings,
all the things God has done that need praising,
All the generous bounties of God,
his great goodness to the family of Israel—
. love extravagant.”
~ Isaiah 63:7, The Message
In the Old Testament, God repeatedly, quietly and loudly, tells his children, “You have forgotten me!” (Jeremiah 3:32, Ezekiel 22:12, to name a few). It’s a heart cry from a father to a child who has forgotten all the love, all the saving, helping, little and big blessings – and it leaves me stunned when I realize our Father, the creator of the universe, who knows things I cannot begin to fathom, who authors storylines that leave me amazed, delights in all of us so much, He cries out, “Remember Me.”
While every day is a Remember God Day, I am inviting you to join me on Monday mornings to come by and remember what God has done for you, for your family. Maybe God sent a cardinal darting out in front of you, as if to tell you, “I’m here,” or broke a child’s fever after you laid it all down at His feet in a 2 a.m. bedside vigil. Maybe He stood with you in the wait of a prayer sent out, or brought someone you loved to Christ. Maybe He healed your broken heart, gave your courage, or you gave Him your dreams as a love offering only to have Him give them back in an unimaginable way. Maybe God helped you survive to bedtime after a crazy Monday, or forgive yourself for missing it with your kiddos –– Whatever it is, let’s Remember Him. . . in a “Remember Me Monday” love letter.
“My mouth will tell of your righteousness,
Of your salvation all the day long,
Though I know not its measure.
I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord”
~ Psalm 71:15-16.
Let us delight in Him by telling the stories of what He’s done! If you wrote a blog post remembering what He’s done for you, join the linky. If you didn’t but still want to praise Him for what He’s done – write it in the comment section. Then visit a comment before or after yours! One of the beautiful things about the blogging community is the relationships it builds!
Rules? Write long or short, a list or a story, include photos or not. Just Remember Him and what He has done, and let the gratitude of your heart guide you. Let’s make Monday so Rejoice, that the goodness of God spills into the rest of the week!
Places I’m Linking at This Week:
Inspire Me Monday, Instaencouragements,
Legacy Link-Up, Recharge Wednesday
Faith on Fire, Tell His Story, Grace&Truth
Let’s Have Coffee Wednesday Celebrate Your Story
Scripture&Snapshot, Sunday Scripture Blessings
Sweet Tea & Friends Monthly Link-up