In my job at Unity House, I know we are serving more than calories. We are offering nutrition for bellies and spirits, serving smiles and choices as people go through the line, and select what foods they want on their plates.
I am often applauding this part of eating – the opportunity to exchange affection and kindness through cooking. But I don’t easily accept the affection and kindness offered by other cooks, especially when it comes pancakes.
I have such a thing going with pancakes that I don’t really want to eat other people’s versions of them. I like my pancakes. I like the process of making them. I like the engagement. I can’t really eat someone else’s engagement, can I? Well, that’s what I ask of others, so maybe I can.
I pickled myself with a bicycle crash, and if I want pancakes, or any kind of food, I need lots of help. Luckily, I only earned a mildly fractured pelvis and some road rash. I’m delighted that I didn’t hit my head. I did earn a few days in the hospital.
Once I got home, my first meal was pancakes. I had to surrender the process to Felix. He is pretty well schooled, and made an excellent re-entry plate of spelt cakes for me, with minimal demandingness and micromanagement on my part.
That night, friends brought dinner and lo and behold, that was corncakes! From afar I helped with the heat on the griddle, and then all I could do was marvel and enjoy.
Enjoying the lovely cakey and soft corn cakes was simple. Topped with a couple of salsas – chicken tomatillo and very vegetabley tomato/summer squash – and sour cream, they were the perfect meal.
Swallowing my resistance to other people’s pancakes turned out to be pretty easy, too. No, I am not going to run out to restaurants and try their sweet takes on white flour cakes – that’s not my gig. But I am letting down my guard, and thinking a lot about how ideas can get in the way of communion.
I had two plates of perfect pancakes in one day. Thanks, accident, for delivering me the food, and the lesson.