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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Simmer

We used to frequent a nice little Hiway 7 restaurant that had a sign over the cash register that read “We serve good food not fast food!” And indeed they did. If you were stopping in there for a meal you’d better have time and inclination to sit awhile. Burgers were cooked from raw. The turkey roasted on the weekend was now being served up à la king over homemade biscuits or a nicely simmered turkey vegetable soup just like grandma used to make. The pies were to die for! But they weren’t frozen. If you arrived after the last piece came out of the pan, you were too late.

There’s an official Slow Food Movement that advocates for traditional cooking methods, along with all the associated benefits of taste, sociability, support of positive agricultural and economic systems. Check them out here if you’re interested.

I’ve been thinking of the notion of simmering as I’ve considered the Lenten journey time of waiting I wrote about earlier this week. What does it mean to just wait? I liken it in some ways to simmering.

Very often the thing that recommends a recipe is that it can be “ready in twenty minutes” or “just nuked” for even less time. Families rushing in from work or school and out to practice or meetings want something quick. From freezer to table in less time than it takes to change into your sweats—that’s what we need.

And yet, there is so very much to be said for the long weekend, the extra day to cook up a batch of chili or spaghetti sauce, or to pull that turkey carcass out of the freezer and let it simmer in the stock pot for as many hours as you like. Simmering has just so very many advantages. The house fills up with good smells while the toughest sinews relax and tenderize in the broth. Given enough time and lovin’ a pot of bones and roots and a little handful of herbs and such can emerge as something truly wonderful to warm the heart, fill the belly and pull a family together in ways that no micro-waved pizza pocket can.

What do you think? Are you with me in this period of reflection and introspection, coming out of a long and (for some) dreary winter season, but not yet quite into spring?

“God is doing a new thing” Carman wrote in his Barns blog post recently. I thought I detected a bit of impatience there. What is that new thing and where is it rising up?

Maybe God has us on at a simmer just now, in this waiting time. It doesn’t mean nothing is happening; it’s a different kind of happening.

Like any metaphor, this one doesn’t work totally. Even as I’m reading over what I’ve written I can think of exceptions. If that “new thing” is going to happen, someone needs to be doing the spade work, ensuring the relationships are built and the preparation done to enable it to be.

I feel fortunate to be one of the ones who has the luxury to follow the instruction to “don’t just do something, sit there!” Sit there and simmer.

Posted by Marion

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