Tag Archives: Feast

Cooking, Cleaning, and Cassia

Sheltering in place has spurred a tug toward cooking and cleaning.

Office closets, filled so haphazardly their contents would bonk me on the head when opening the door, are now pristine. A pile of unworn clothes is packed for donation to Goodwill. The whir of the vacuum and the smell of Fabuloso make more regular appearances on Lockwood Ridge Road.

Or should I say “Lockdown Ridge Road?”

Yes, I’m going stir crazy. I’d much rather be shopping, dining out, and otherwise frolicking than cooking and cleaning.

But the harsh reality? I should well appreciate the privilege of sheltering in place when others must work outside of the home. A million thank you’s to the healthcare workers and grocery store cashiers who carry on in the midst of a scary, insidious, invisible threat.

Nope, I’m not leaving the house. The one time I had to? It involved picking up a prescription for my mom (who I still can’t visit). I wore plastic gloves and a mask, and handed the meds (along with her favorite, People magazine) to an attendant who wouldn’t let me traverse the doorway.

PS – I am SO GRATEFUL Mom is at Atria Assisted Living. They bring her meals, deliver wine for happy hour, and protect her health like it’s Fort Knox.

So back to the domestic arts. When cleaning one of the aforementioned closets, out popped a recipe. This is not unusual. I’ve spent a lifetime collecting recipes for dishes I’ll never make.

Ah, but THIS was for Cassia’s flan.

More than the memory of the richest, creamiest, most delectible desert EVER, I remembered Cassia.

I met her back in the church days, and she was the light (and fire) of every room she entered. Gorgeously Brazilian, she was an elegant, refined lady who would surprise with her sassy comments. Everyone was darling – or rather, “dah-link” – but she did not suffer fools. Oh, but if she liked you? Or loved you?

Well, Cassia’s love was a force to be reckoned with.

She was ready to leave the church/cult when I was getting married but kept silent about her intentions because she didn’t want to put a damper on my party.

Soon after, she left. When I finally had MY awakening to leave, she was the first person I called.

“You were right! Cassia, you were right!”

She loved me enough to give me the space to come to my own conclusion. But was right there to comfort and love me back from the brink of despair when the place I had given my life to was revealed to be a sham.

Cassia loved passionately, and it always showed up at her dinner table. When she invited you to dinner, you dropped everything to be there for a veritable feast that would always end with her life-changing flan.

After almost 20 years of storing the recipe, I finally decided this week to make it.

Why did I wait so long?! It was PERFECTION. Just like Cassia.

But here’s where the story gives me goosies. The day that recipe reemerged from the dark corner of my closet was Cassia’s birthday.

I had forgotten the date! Only later that day when I scrolled through Facebook did I see her adoring widower, Luis, post a tribute to his beloved wife.

On her birthday, Cassia gave me a gift. A tap on the shoulder from beyond and a resurgence of happy memories.

I am probably the age of Cassia when we met. A woman could only hope to aspire to her unique beauty and the quality of her love.

And to the deliciousness of her flan. Of course, you want the recipe! Here you go (by the way, I doubled the ingredients to make the version you see above):

Warning: Put some non-stick spray or parchment paper as a barrier to the caramel. It had hardened to concrete and we ended up throwing away the pan. But the flan was worth it!

With patience our recent Word of the Week, it made sense that I’d try something out of my wheelhouse that required a little bit of the WOW. Here are my parting thoughts on patience, and a zippy new reveal!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJp9np1oPcQ

May all of your adventures these next two weeks be…delicious! And if you have a Cassia memory, please share…

xoxoxox

Brenda

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Letting Love IN (and the New WOW)

Can you imagine a table loaded up with love and yet you remain starving?

I’ve considered this on a week where HARMONY was our Word of the Week, and all of the messages I kept reading referred back to LOVE as the secret sauce for harmony.

When I am out of sorts with myself, I’m learning to check my love levels.  Since Costa Rica, my first step is to check out how well I’m loving ME (or not).  Because I’ve learned that I will only attract what I emanate.

Harmony is when there’s unity of thought and feeling – and fear is always the great divider.

Fear’s leading line is, “What if…” and leads down the rabbit trail of negative possibilities.

That’s when I need to go and sit in Mom-Mom’s chair, and talk to myself.

Taking that five minute (or more) time-out is just what I need to get back to unity between my soul and spirit, and it always ends with a little love note to myself.

“I love you Brenda.”

When was the last time you said those words out loud to yourself?

Picture yourself, through all of the many stages of your life:  The chubby toddler, the acne-stained teen; the insecure but tough-looking college student or the polished (but anxious as hell) professional.

With each mental image, let love well up inside of you.  You’ll find floods of empathy and compassion, tenderness and grace rise up.

Then let those loving feelings wash over you.

Some tears may spill out of your eyes.  That’s okay.  It’s your angels washing your heart from the wounds accrued over time.

After that good, cleansing cry, you may find that where there was discord, harmony now resides in your heart.  And you’re ready to face life again, because YOU’VE got your own back.

The table of love is a feast that is always set before us.  May we all choose to partake!

I talk a bit more on this (and just wish I had put some better lipstick on), but you’ll forgive the momentary lapse of aesthetics in the new Word of the Week reveal:

Looking at life with fresh eyes is how I’m going to approach creativity this week.

After all, if I keep doing the SAME thing, I’ll get the same results.

I want new stuff!  How about you?

Oh, and let’s GIVE THANKS for all the wonderful stuff we already have.  I hope you and yours enjoy a marvelous Thanksgiving holiday, seated at a table where the feast is LOVE.

xoxoxoxo

Brenda

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