Monday, July 17, 2006

My Rite of Passage

Many cultures celebrate a rite of passage where a boy becomes a man. Aborigines created bungee jumping for their young men to prove their courage. Native American legends tell of young braves going on his first hunt. African tribesman sent boys into the jungle to become men through their first fight.

I am staring down the barrel of my own rite of passage. It does not involve braving a jungle or making a kill; instead, my challenge is my first entry in a legendary annual event. The First United Methodist Church picnic at Salem Campground is upon us. This is a festive time under the oak trees that we sit and enjoy fried chicken and various covered dishes together. They mentioned that we are even bringing in a bluegrass band this year.

My grandmother called last week to review my recipes. She has known for months what she will be bringing. Grandma is one of the few who has earned the right to place her masking tape name label on the top of her dish. Her pound cakes are renowned at any church picnic.

“Caroline, go ahead and tell me what you are cooking. Let’s think through what people always enjoy,” she instructed me on the phone last week. This rite of passage is significant to everyone in my family. It proves if they really raised me right.

Our church published a now out-of-print green cookbook called “Feed His Sheep” that is a collection of recipes from various church members. In fact, my grandmother personally sold over 300 copies in Conyers. Any recipe from the green cookbook has a magical ability to flourish as the best dish at the party.

Certain rules do apply. If you make a dish and someone compliments you, the cook must site the name of the recipe author. (Side note: anything by Nadine Yoder, Frances Ingle, or June Barnett guarantees greatness). Many people have begun to call the recipe author or send her a note to tell what compliments ensued from her dish. We share all of the glory.

My recipe selection has stressed me out all week. My first impulse was the make something hip by using a recipe from my new Rachel Ray cookbook. A friend dashed my idea by telling me than no one wants originality at the picnic. I have to walk the path of the ones before me. So, I will make deviled eggs. I will even go out and find one of those platters that has the egg indentions.

Sausage balls are next on my list. They have a handful of recipes in “Feed My Sheep” and my brother will eat the entire batch if no one else will. No one wants to leave a picnic with food still on her platter.

My baked item will be Orly’s Apple Cake. My maternal grandmother made an apple cake every day, and people all over Conyers knew her for it. Orly taught me how to make the cake when I was a little girl, and my mom submitted the recipe to the cookbook.

Grandma has approved the selections and now I am on my way.

This experience revealed how important it is to me to stand among the greats. For generations, families have gathered under that tabernacle to worship and to tell the story of God. “I love to tell the story, twill be my theme in glory, to tell the old, old story, of Jesus and His love.”

Now, I can walk their path by telling their stories, singing their songs, and baking their cakes. May my life join with theirs to continue telling the story of His love.

2 Comments:

Blogger hipastorzwife2B said...

Oh I so GET this! I agonize over banana puddin'.

11:12 AM  
Blogger revabi said...

What a rite of passage. Worst than any jungle or lion hunt.

3:02 PM  

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