A fellow food blogger, Warren Caterson, whose sense of humor, I love wrote a piece called Excuse Me While I Chill Some Wine and Take a Few Moments to Tebow. In it he started by talking about Tim Tebow and how when he does well on the field, he drops down to one knee and prays. After talking about football for a moment, he brought it to a place I could relate to on a personal level. He said, “For me, culinary expertise is a gift just like any talent. The ability to taste, to tweak, to cook is all on loan.” I could not agree more. I know that everything I learn about food, every gift I have in the kitchen, every smell that comes alive, the aroma that fills the air, the way the foods change textures as I work with them. All of these things are a gift from the Infinite. Warren jokingly said, “So if my next meal pleases the palates of my guests? Perhaps you just might catch a glimpse of me "Tebowing" in the darkness of my pantry. Because being thankful for whatever talent I might have is something I will strive for.”
Like Warren, I “Tebow” in my own way when my meals please the palates of my guests. However, I also take time to do my own “Tebow” when I am planning a menu, selecting my ingredients, preparing them, plating them, and serving them. To paraphrase a scripture, I guess I “tebow” without ceasing.
Creating food for me reminds me of the story of the Creation in Genesis. You start with a dish, and it looks good and you are pleased. But there is something missing. So the next time you tweak it a bit and it looks good and you are pleased, but there is still something missing. So you continue this process of tweaking it until it has the perfect balance of flavors, textures, and you know it is now a work of art ready to be reproduced and served to those who the Creator has sent to your table to be blessed by what has been created through you. Then when you see the meal pleases the palates of your guests, you somehow, someway take quiet moment to “Tebow.”
Recently, my partner of 10 years asked me to marry her for a few reasons. One, same sex couples can legally marry in New York State. Two, she loves me. Finally, we are preparing to celebrate our 10-year anniversary and this was a great way to do that. It is going to be a small and simple gathering and I am catering the reception myself. As crazy as that might sound, I have become increasingly particular about the quality of the food that I serve and that comes into our home, especially since Zoë was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago. In addition to wanting things to be fresh and organic, we have an eclectic group of friends with a diversity of dietary preferences. We want to have finger food and appetizers for friends who are vegan, vegetarian, and to have as many dishes as possible gluten free. As this is an afternoon wedding, we want things that are not too filling.
Before even thinking about where to begin, I needed to take a Tebow moment. Taking that time with the Creator to give thanks for the inspiration and guidance that would guide me through has been so helpful. The first thing, I found myself doing for some unexplained reason was ordering two chafing dishes for hot foods from the party rental company. After doing this, I realized I could either cancel them or know it was an inspiration from the Infinite. As I was “tebowing” my way through things, I remembered Zoë asking if we could have meatballs. Trying to be frugal, I thought I could stretch that out by making some sort of pasta to go with the meatballs. That would stretch things out a bit and for those who had not eaten before coming it would give them something more filling. While this would be perfect for our meat-eating guests, it leaves out our vegan/vegetarian/gluten free guests. To provide the same option for others guests, we will be serving a vegan/gluten free “meatball” with gluten free pasta.
While the balance of the menu is still in creation, I am envisioning a diversity of gluten free/vegan crackers and chips, some fresh salads, salsas, hummus, mini macaroni and cheese muffins, and finger foods. Of course, a few desert options including the wedding cupcakes, with a few vegan and gluten free ones on separate plates, mascarpone stuffed strawberries, and my chocolate chip and oatmeal butterscotch cookies.
As I sit here and look at what the Creator has inspired in me thus far, I must take a moment and “Tebow.”