When Breaking Bread looks like Normandy Pie
“. . . breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,
and having favor with all the people.
And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” ~ Acts 2:46
Something happens at a table where bread is broken together. Maybe the bread broken together is turkey, roast beef or salmon. . . maybe a slice of ham. Maybe it’s buttery grilled cheese sandwiches. Maybe there’s carrots, salad. . . roasted asparagus, leeks, potatoes, Brussel sprouts. Maybe there’s water, sweet tea, a glass of wine. And desserts – maybe it’s graham crackers and marshmallow cream. Maybe it’s a cranberry cheesecake, a flourless chocolate torte. Maybe it’s modjeskas, sugar cookies. . . chess bars. Maybe it’s a pie – Coconut? Peach? Normandy?
Maybe it’s a Story Dessert – like a Story Pie, Story Cookies, Story Cakes, Story candies. . . desserts with His Stories and Her Stories. . . passed down becoming a part of the Family Story. Sharing a Story Dessert. . . or a Story Dish is an intimate kind of breaking bread. It pulls those who sit around the table into the Family Story – and, whether they were born into the family or were invited to the Family Table – when they pull up a chair and break bread, they become part of that Family Story. Sitting around the table, breaking bread together with gladness and simplicity of heart involves sharing stories – big stories, little stories, sad stories, funny stories. . . soul stories.
Cooking is more than cooking. Sitting around the table is more than sitting around the table. . . and breaking bread around that table – no matter what that bread looks like – is so much more than buttering up a roll and filling bellies. It’s about filling souls. God designed us to break bread – physically, spiritually and emotionally.
“There are many in the world dying for a piece of bread, but there are many more dying for a little love.” St. Teresa of Calcutta
Sometimes breaking bread feeds those needing God’s kind of love.
Relationships are built, grown, mended in this sitting around the table, in this breaking of the bread. Lives can be changed one story at a time shared around the table. Of course, you might not see that change when the dishes are put away. It might be days, weeks, years. . . but breaking bread plants seeds. Gives second chances, third chances, seven times seven chances. . . chances for change, for soul change, for salvation change.
Sometimes those who usually sit in the chairs aren’t there – for good, bad or sad reasons. Yet God designed us to break bread, called us to Feed His Sheep – those He gave us through birth and those He gave us through community. Those that are easy to love – and those that challenge that love is, indeed, unconditional. Each person becomes a part of the story of the breaking of the bread. If a chair is empty, invite someone to fill it, trusting God has the seed planting and watering taken care of for those who choose not to be there, while you break bread with those who chose to come, to sit, to share their stories.
Paul talked about how he planted, Apollos watered and God gives the increase(1 Corinthians 3:6). Sometimes watering and planting look like a two people talking over a cuppa in the local coffee shop. Sometimes watering and planting look like sharing a plate of grilled cheese. Sometimes it looks like a Feast. Sometimes, it looks like Hamburgers & Hotdogs. Sometimes, it looks like Wild Apple Ginger tea in a cup. Sometimes the stories shared go in the size of a mustard seed – to grow, grOW, GROW into just what God-designed it should.
Don’t underestimate the God-infused power of sitting around a table and breaking bread.
“They devote themselves every day to what Jesus taught: to prayer, to fellowship, to breaking of bread together. They shared what they owned; they served each other’s needs. Ethnic barriers came down as they became known by the way they loved each other. It’s a different community, devoted to a Jesus way of life with God.” — John Ortberg
Who are you going to break bread with this Christmas Season? Who’s going to fill the empty chairs? Who has a story you haven’t heard but so very much need to hear?
“Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them,
that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.
Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him;
and He vanished from their sight.“
~ Luke 24: 30-31
A long time ago, I took this recipe and modified it for my grandmother. Whole pecans gave her diverticulitis, so I thought, maybe, if I turned the pecans into pecan dust, she would be able to eat something she once enjoyed so very well. She wouldn’t try it. Maybe she was too cautious. She was a brave woman – a strong woman but in this area, she chose not to be. Yet, she came, sat around the table and loved listening to all the stories. She didn’t try my pie, but it her strength and courage showed me how to be strong and not give up – even when someone chooses not to try your pie. A few years later, it won a pie contest at my husband’s company picnic. Her story has been passed down to my sons with this pie – a pie that is one of their very favorites, a sit long and talk much kind of pie.
1 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
1/2 Cup (1 stick) melted butter
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1-6 oz. pkg, semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Cup pecans, reduced to Pecan Dust consistency
1 tsp vanilla extract or bourbon
1-9 inch unbaked pie shell
Mix sugar and flour. Add melted butter. Stir. Then add 2 eggs and vanilla/bourbon. Stir. Add tablespoon of maple syrup. Add chocolate chips and pecan dust, stirring until evenly distributed. Bake in a 9-inch pie shell for 1 hour at 350°.
I always like to place pie in the oven just as I sit down to dinner with friends. By the time we finish, so then is the pie. Top with homemade whipping cream. If you need to make ahead of time, heating each piece up in the microwave is recommended for full flavor. However, even served at room temperature, the Normandy Pie will disappear quickly.
Not only have I copied and pasted this recipe into a document for pie-making, but am pondering the gathering around a table and grasping the depth of relationships that can be built around that table. I am so used to spending those precious meals with only one other person, this woman without children nor many close friends to invite to gather. Plus I really do not enjoy cooking. Yes, I love to bake so there are moments when a group of women gathers around for a bite of a homemade dessert and tea/coffee after a small group Bible study. My gatherings are small and God will use the one or six at my table to draw us together build us deeply. I am grateful.
One or six my friend – grilled cheese – somehow God makes the breaking bread together something more – like he made more out of the the loaves and fishes!God sends you those who need a seat at the table! Shalom, Linda. Praying fullness and joy as you celebrate Christmas in a new place! ~ Maryleigh
‘Cooking is more than cooking. Sitting around the table is more than sitting around the table. . . and breaking bread around that table – no matter what that bread looks like – is so much more than buttering up a roll and filling bellies. It’s about filling souls.’
Amen, Maryleigh! I’ll be keeping your wise quote close to my heart even as I continue to try to open our doors and embrace hospitality as part of our identity. More than ever, people are yearning for community and connection … and all it requires is an available heart and a listening ear.
Super article, friend! Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas, Linda! When we invite God in, nothing is ever as it seems! Shalom! ~ Maryleigh
Maryleigh, I love your thoughts on breaking bread, relationships, love and courage all finding space at the table. And yes, even when the chairs that used to be filled are empty, we can still cherish the hearts that once broke bread with us. Thank you for the encouraging “soul food” my dear friend, and the delicious pie recipe!!!
Thank you for this beautiful encouragement to open our family table, “It’s about filling souls. God designed us to break bread – physically, spiritually and emotionally.”
Thank you for sharing your Muddy’s Normandy Pie recipe. I look forward to baking it for my family.
This >> “Don’t underestimate the God-infused power of sitting around a table and breaking bread.” Amen! It truly has nothing to do what the food that is shared, but the bond He forms. Thank you for this encouraging reading as I pray for those who will gather around tables!
So lovely. I am blessed whenever I look around my table at beloved faces. Your post reminded me of a sad poem that begins “Music I heard with you was more than music/Bread I broke with you was more than bread.” So very true. The food just serves to make space for the real meal.
Change with individuals does take place around tables. It is so easy to forget this. Your opening made me hungry. I made a pie similar to this (only it didn’t have nuts) for Thanksgiving and it was delicious. This one with pecans sounds heavenly.
Love this so much, Maryleigh! I cannot remember who said it, but I like the idea of “We are not filling holes, we are filling souls,” when it comes to feeding families and friends.
(Your recipe looks like a winner. I’m going to try it.)
Maryleigh, what a fantastic and blessed post. I love the concept of desert stories, I never looked at it that way but it is so true, the stories you hear around deserts and while breaking bread. I cherished this post. Blessings.
Visiting today from Remember Me Monday #4 & 5
Maryleigh, I forgot to tell you. Your pecan pie recipe sounds awesome. I love how you pulverized the pecans. Oh, how I enjoy a good pecan pie. But! I don’t like to wear my teeth 🙃. I’m going to have to save this recipe. Blessings.
Maryleigh, remembering that the food around the table is not as important as the welcoming and soul food. And yes, the best conversations happen over dessert! I remember the last Christmas our cousins spent together before “C” hit. They grabbed out family albums, photos, and we recalled such heart-warming stories and memories. I look forward to that time again. And I hope that I can offer that kind of hospitality to others, where I’m not so concerned about the food but about welcoming them and making them feel at home.
I’ve never heard of Normandy pie! But any pecan/chocolate combo sounds delish! I love sharing our table with others and listening to people’s stories :). I’m here’s something about food that brings out conversations and ease and community.
As a child, I remember more people did gather with friends for meals. Sadly, our world has gotten so busy that I don’t see people doing that as often. Yes, sitting and visiting with or chatting with a stranger shares His love.