I am more modest now, but I still think that one of the pleasantest of all emotions is to know that I, I with my brain and my hands, have nourished my beloved few, that I have concocted a stew or a story, a rarity or a plain dish, to sustain them truly against the hungers of the world. ― M.F.K. Fisher
Such a lovely sentiment from the esteemed M.F.K. Fisher. I know I can relate to the wonderful feeling of feeding family and friends, knowing that my labor of love in the kitchen has contributed to their joy and nourishment.
Yet the more subtle message is to not be prideful, to not boast about the greatness of a creation, but to humbly accept that even the most plain and simple of dishes can provide that nourishment and sustenance. Complicated is not always better, and humility is key–we cannot expect praise, but must be thankful, rather, for the small signs that our work is appreciated. We must trust without expectations of praise, that what we have made is good.
This weekend, I made vanilla ice cream and a variation of this salad to take to dinner with friends. They made baked chicken and vegetables. We sat around a table, sipping wine, discussing jobs and families. We sliced fresh peaches over our ice cream. We cleared the table, and brought out Trivial Pursuit. Simple meals – and simple evenings with good friends – nourish me. But I sometimes worry that this is not enough.
At times, doubt and uncertainty threaten to overwhelm me and and I fear that I am not enough–that what I do is not enough, what I have made not sufficient to satisfy those I share it with. M.F.K. Fisher’s words give me hope. Hope that I will one day move past these doubts, and with humble grace, know that what I have made is good.
On Mondays I will be sharing some of my favorite words of wisdom about food, cooking, food writing, and coming together around the table. If you have suggestions for quotes to feature here, please let me know.