Santa was good to me this year. He brought all the right things. My husband Mark did a marvelous job at tipping him off. I was giddy after opening an odd shaped, cleverly wrapped package that revealed a bright red rolling pin. A red rolling pin! I don’t really need another rolling pin, nor do I really have the space in our little kitchen to store another rolling pin. But a red rolling pin! I love it. I’ll make room.
I was equally overjoyed when I discovered an antique comb honey dish under the tree. I’m not sure why, but comb honey has sort of fallen out of favor over the last few decades. It used to be the only way my grandpa’s generation ate honey. And I know why. A thin slice of honey comb melds perfectly with almost anything. It melts into sweet oblivion on a piece of warm buttered toast. It sparks up a slice of fine cheese like nobody’s business. It makes perfect chewing gum. We take it on camping trips and slice off hunks of it for times when we need an energy boost (it also keeps us in good with the bears). And the comb itself – which is loaded with enzymes, vitamins, and amino acids – is quite healthy.
Every August during my pilgrimage to the Minnesota State Fair, I spend a significant portion of my visit in the honey room – watching demonstrations, marveling at the prize winning honeys, cataloging new ideas for honey baked goods, and ogling over the displays of vintage comb honey dishes. Most have bees, flowers, and pretty patterns worked into the glass. They are elegant, yet still sturdy and functional – my favorite combination in tableware. And now I am the proud keeper of one. My dish has a relief of bees around it with a sunflower radiating out from the stemmed handle. What’s more, it is the perfect shade of pink! And I’m delighted at how it catches the morning light from the kitchen window. Quite an upgrade from the shabby tupperware that used to house our honeycomb. (I regret that there is not a fresh, new slab of honeycomb in the dish for the photo, but that required more planning than I could muster.)
There were plenty of other fun little gifts to be had this Christmas, but one that I keep thinking about in particular is a bumper sticker that my mom put in my stocking. It’s about as plain as a bumper sticker can get – just a roughly scribbled big yellow heart in the middle, overlaid with the words “Love People. Cook them tasty food.” I like it for several reasons, the simplicity of its design for one. But certainly for the message. It’s nothing terribly profound, yet in some ways it is. It feels so real, so attainable. Finally, a bumper sticker I can get my head around.
I have a tendency to get pretty overwhelmed with the world and our current state of affairs. Stories of poverty, hatred, cruelty, injustice, and discrimination hit me hard. And leave me feeling quite helpless. The only way I know to cope is to reign the most disturbing aspects of reality back down into my little sphere, my little place on this earth, and ask what I can do to make a difference. And here is one more answer for me. I can love people. I can cook them tasty food.