Day 21: Love

Posted by jennebarbour Employee Dec 21, 2016

My in-laws arrived today, which also kicked off many days of cooking. I express love through food preparation, and will be expressing my love for my family through an abundance of cooking and baking in the coming days.


Whether it’s the day-of turkey festivities, complete with recipes shared by family and friends – onion pie from my in-laws, my sister-in-law’s cranberries, my Dad’s whipped Irish mashed potatoes, and gravy that recalls memories of being in entirely another room when my father called my name in panicked response to a lid-less blender making quick work of the giblets – every recipe calls forth warm memories of holidays spent with loved ones.

Many believe cooking to be a form of spell-casting – a way of making manifest in delicious, physical form love for family, friends, and anyone else who happens by one’s home. I firmly ascribe to this theory, and can’t allow anyone into our home without a ridiculous amount of food to accompany their arrival. There are many family jokes about my family’s late hour of dining due to the volume and number of dishes which must be prepared, and we [I] typically prepare enough for an army, as is our way.


I wish you and your loved ones days of delicious eating. I hope you, too, cook or bake something – however simple – that delivers your love in edible form. And I send wishes of future bounties for all who may find this year one of trial and tribulation, whether due to rough years, or conflict, or any circumstance.


And if you should find yourself in my neighborhood someday, I’ll welcome you with open arms, a warm hearth and kitchen, and whatever happens to be in our pot or oven. May the holiday season greet you and yours warmly, and may all the love you desire be freely offered and received.



Posted by jennebarbour Employee Dec 13, 2016

Merriam-Webster says “remember” means to retain in the memory, or to have a recollection of something. As we enter the holiday season, nearly every day is filled with remembrances around my house – and probably yours, too.


In my house, it’s a Christmas tree filled with ornaments my children have created, or those we’ve picked up on travels, or those I convinced my parents to relinquish. My husband lugs tub after tub of decorations down from the attic, and I have hundreds of ornaments – enough to fill multiple trees. In a previous house, I had multiple trees, but now have to choose only enough to stuff a single tree, and the very act of festooning my tree requires the active competition of memories.

Maybe it’s the brass ornament from my elementary school days, when my name was still spelled with a “y,” versus a photo of my daughter packed into winter gear for her first holiday parade [easy, she wins]. Or it might be agonizing over whether to include a set of matching eggs that I received from my grandmother versus a blown-glass Darth Vader [I figured out a way to add a second, half-pint-sized tree to make sure both happened]. Or it might be finding that yet another house move proved too much for the ceramic ornament my son hand-painted in kindergarten, found in shards at the bottom of a box [tears ensued – mine].


So many of the memories I cherish come flooding back at the holidays, as I’m sure happens for many of us. Collecting ornaments to mark each one is one of my favorite things to do, and I suppose it explains the volume I have. These remembrances stay with me in the richness of recollection, but I love rediscovering them every year in physical form, too.

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