Life Lessons in the Legacy of Food

Food, in the end, in our own tradition, is something holy. It’s not about nutrients and calories. It’s about sharing. It’s about honesty. It’s about identity.” Louise Fresco
He wants to learn how to cook–perhaps professionally. A grandson coming of age. His father likes to cook. And the son has been asking me how I do this or that. And can he help?
“Cream puffs,” I said, “Let me show you how to make cream puffs.”
I make them by special request–and yearly for his aunt’s birthday.
Our cream puffs are not pictured above. Ours were a tad less poufy but good–at least once we got to the second tray.
Boiling the water and butter (only real butter), then adding the flour. The batter looked like mashed potatoes until we added the eggs.
It’s a version of Murphy’s Law that, when you’re trying to show off a particular skill, something won’t go right. Little cream puffs put low in the oven get too crispy. The next tray went higher, bigger, better.
Life lesson: Failure is an opportunity to adjust and go again.
I heated the milk for the pudding/filling in the microwave. I confess that I used a pudding mix rather than working from scratch. Perhaps on another day that isn’t as full, we can make scratch pudding. A mix, yes. Instant? No way!
Kitchen rule: It’s a sin to make your own cream puffs and fill them with instant pudding.
Life lesson: Pursue quality. But quality in the experience is more important than the quality of scratch every time.
The day was a typical Wednesday. Lots of noise with four boys–three brothers and a cousin–coming to my house in a borrowed van after school. A convenient meal tossed in the oven. An evening of youth group and children’s church activities.
But this Wednesday was special because we had cream puffs. Even if all of them weren’t perfect. Even if we were just a bit rushed.
He and I made them together. We didn’t just make food. We made a memory.
We made something that lasts longer than a meal. We shared flavor and sustenance passed from one generation to another.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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