Today is Labor Day, and I'm laboring. Canning peaches gets boring but I like them so much it's worth the effort. For company I have some soothing classical music from NPR. It calms the soul and prevents my throwing the peaches that stick to the pits at the wall! That's a big help at clean-up time.
Before I forget, it's been brought to my attention that there were some discrepancies in my last column about the food prices in Alaska. A reader checked the supermarket prices in Anchorage and they were lower. What I had quoted were from the remote villages where large transportation costs are factored in and I should have said so. My thanks to the reader for her interest.
Many of you wrote asking about the Blessing Way we were having, wanting to know more about what is involved. It is an experience that goes so deep for me that it's hard to translate into words. There was a wee sprite there (18-month-old great-granddaughter) who loved every single one of us ... who danced barefooted and played, smiled and talked. She enchanted us all with her beauty and sweetness and the innocence of childhood, setting the tempo for the celebration.
Our purpose was to honor Rachael and celebrate with her the joy, excitement and challenge of becoming a mother, and as the family and friends to offer her our love and support.
Host mother, Molly, began with a welcome and outlined the afternoon. Our circle of women from 18 months to 82 years began with introductions, giving our name, our mothers and grandmothers names, thereby honoring those who had mothered us. Tributes of personal poetry, readings, scripture and music were given to Rachael. She was presented with special beads, representing events in her life, to be strung into a necklace. We made prayer flags to be hung in her birthing room. The midwife gave us ribbon bracelets to wear until the baby arrives to remind us to keep mother and baby in our thoughts and prayers. Other activities included token gifts, visiting, pictures, and feasting.
For those who asked what we ate, here's the quick version: Seasoned grilled vegetables, tomato-cuke -mozzarella-lemon basil salad, cornbread salad (recipe on request), heaping fruit platters, tiny heart shaped biscuits with honey-butter, olives with feta cheese, guacamole, hummus, nuts, corn and potato chips. Dessert was baklava, pizelles, biscotti, chocolate mint cake, mint ice cream, sparkling limeade, coffee and tea! Since Rachael is vegetarian we had a totally vegetarian meal. It was delicious.
Anymore questions? Just ask.
One more bit of clan news: Daughter Sarah just won her local Whole Foods bake-off. She got first place for her peach cobbler. I remember it had maple syrup in it ... and whipped cream on it ... enough said? Maybe she can take my job here when I retire. Any of my girls could do a better job than I do.
This recipe is similar to what we had at the Blessing Way. You can use your preference of vegetables and seasonings.
Roasted Root Vegetables
1 med. butternut squash, (2 lbs) peeled, washed and cut into 1 1/2 in. pieces
2 lbs. smaller potatoes, washed and quartered
1 lb. med. onions (2-3) peeled and quartered
1 lb. carrots, scrubbed and cut in 1 1/2 in. pieces
1 lb. turnips, peeled and quartered
3 T. vegetable oil
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 2 cookie sheets .
Toss vegetables in a plastic bag with the oil, salt and pepper. Spread on the sheets. Roast until the vegetables are tender and starting to brown 40 to 50 minutes, turning them part way through.
Serve hot. Makes 6-8 servings.
Parting Shot: The essence of America lies not in the headlined heroes...but in the everyday folks who live and die unknown, yet leave their dreams as legacies. -- Allan Lomax, 1940
Edna Shaffer is a local mother, grandmother and great-grandmother who writes about cooking from the perspective of an older adult. She can be reached via the Record-Eagle at 120 W. Front, Traverse City, Mi 49685; or by sending e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org