Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Potatoes and Prayers

I would like to cook my friend a meal. I would like to cook one for her entire family- a family who has walked through so much the past few years that it's hard to imagine.

We foodies generally show our love and affection and our nurturing spirits through the food we cook. But unfortunately, all I can do for this friend is pray and sit and wait for her updates regarding her family.

That friend is Monet.

Many of you already know Monet through her inspiring, descriptive and delicious blog ( where her words are as intoxicating as the food she makes. Even more than that, is the love that Monet spreads everywhere her written word appears. Her kind words and sweet spirit have lifted my heart more than a few times.

I've never met Monet in person, yet I feel such a connection with her as I know so many others do. So when I heard about the tragic accident that happened over the weekend to her sister and her sister's husband as well as her two nephews, I was shocked. How much more can this family endure? (read here,

So I sat staring at my computer screen, trying to make sense of what has happened to this family. "Why?" is the knee-jerk reaction. I think of Japan. "Why?" I scramble for a reason, something that comforts, something that hushes the deep questions that resonate inside when I hear about tragedy. It shakes my core. It throws a shattering piece of shrapnel through my spirit. Why this family? God seems so unfeeling. He seems so far away when this kind of news emerges. Is it because it's true or because we see only bits and pieces of the plan?

We cling to cliches like, "God is good...all the time" or "there's a reason for everything", yet none of us know what that reason is. Yes, at times, later on -sometimes much later on- we can see clearer and see some sort of Divine artistry, but at that moment of raw impact, we are left broken and hopeless and finding taking our next breath difficult and at times, less than desirable.

Sometimes things get worse. Sometimes they get very worse before they get better (pardon yet another cliche). And then, yes, then a crack starts to develop in the wall of protection we have carefully and vigilantly built around ourselves. A fissure that comes bearing a painful proposition...hope.

"Hope?" the heart blurts out, in hot anger and weary frustration. "No, I'm quite comfortable here in my cocoon of despair that I have created. And besides, Hope will require me to believe for better."

The heart desires Hope, regardless of what it may say or how it reacts. The heart lives for hope. It's how one reaches the shore of a land they cannot see or it's how a woman gives those final pushes in birth, when there is seemingly no strength left. Either hope of a new life or hope of a new life.

In this case, where that "new life" may begin is not ours to choose. It may begin in heaven, where all is healed and all is fresh or it may start again here on earth where a road to recovery is slow and hard yet victorious, either way, we are required to let go in some form.

And so we pray, we weep, we try to stuff the questions that arise away. We reach out, we help, we give, trying to bring some comfort. And it does. Because the most precious gift we can give to a family in this situation is support. When a community surrounds you, you no longer feel alone. You know you can take another step, even if it's scary or you don't know where the road leads, you can do it because others are around you. You see God's hands through those who feed you, wipe away your tears and hold you.

You may think it strange that I am incorporating potatoes into this rather deep Foodie House post. Well, I'm inspired by the way Monet writes and how she can creatively work a experience or story in with her recipes.

So Monet, if you are reading this, I would make these potatoes for you. Of course, not just potatoes, dear friend, I would cook you a whole meal, but these would be the comfort factor. I'm sure what you and your family are eating right now consists of cafeteria food and vending machine cuisine. How I wish I could come and bring you and your sweet family food, lots of hugs and a hand to hold...and maybe a pot roast.

These potatoes are homey and rustic. I simply crisped up the potato rounds in lots of olive oil and butter, thyme and rosemary.
 Crispy Rustic Potatoes

2 russet potatoes, baked
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
salt and pepper

Heat pan over medium heat with olive oil and butter. Add herbs and let them perfume the oils. Add slices of potato, season with salt and pepper and leave it for a good 5 minutes. Do not flip until dark golden brown and very crispy. Do the same on the other side. Serve with the herbs, for they are salty and crispy...delicious. 

So here is my challenge to you readers, share this link with others. Share the Caring Bridge link above with others. Let's get the word to get out. I want there to be an outpouring of love and support. Whether it's praying or donating (you can donate on Monet's blog or on the Caring Bridge site) or any other creative way you can think of.  Let's lift this family up and breath hope into these weary hearts.

Love ya, Foodies.

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