(From Laurel's Kitchen, by Laurel Robertson, Carol Flinders, and Bronwen Godfrey; original edition, 1976) Along with recipes, this book describes life in Berkeley, California, sometime in the early 1970's. Laurel has become something of a spiritual mentor to Carol, as well as being the resident expert on vegetarian food. It's the end of this story that fits well with what Edith is trying to say in Chapter 8 (including her story about feeding a tramp during the Depression), and that also speaks to some of our hesitancy about "it worked for her, but I'm not her." I'm not endorsing the meditation-and-Zen philosophy of the book (or the somewhat dated recipes--even Laurel and Carol revised the book ten years later); but I think it makes good points about the value of small gestures that show our care for others. Besides, this story about packing lunches always makes me hungry.
"That night I told Tim about the huge basket and all the little containers that fit together just so...I knew he would be amused. We tried to envision the reactions of Ed's co-workers as our skinny friend sat soberly bringing out jar after box after bag after bottle of exquisitely catered food. The fantasy became more and more elaborate, and soon we were laughing so hard our sides hurt.
"The next morning, though, as I was whipping lunches together in my usual assembly-line fashion, I felt a distinct drag on the operation. Something in me was balking. For the first time, I wondered whether Tim actually liked the lunches I fixed him. He'd never said he didn't. His lunch was always the same--an apple, an orange, and two sandwiches, one of soy spread with alfalfa sprouts, one with peanut butter and honey. Very tentatively, I put a couple of tomato slices with the soy spread, and I bagged the sprouts separately to keep them from sogging down in the mayonnaise. Banana slices and a sprinkle of leftover toasted sesame seed brightened up the peanut butter. I threw the sandwiches into the bag with the fruit, but this time I took a little more care than usual that the apple shouldn't sit directly athwart the sandwiches. I came within a hair's breadth of pulling the orange out and scoring it, but I wasn't sure he was ready for that...."
Next week's topic in The Hidden Art of Homemaking will be Chapter 8, "Food." Stay tuned for more posts and maybe some recipes.
Linked from the Chapter 8 Linky at Ordo Amoris.