I’m reading Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen, and it is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. It is a somewhat irreverent memoir of growing up Mennonite, and the author has this delightful dry wit that just keeps a perpetual smile on my face while reading it.
I have a huge admiration for the Mennonite friends I have in my life for a million reasons. They live these simple lives of service and they are pacifists and they are resourceful and they have the gift of hospitality AND they are all good cooks. Great cooks. One of my favorite blogs that I follow is Mennonite Girls Can Cook where you might find recipes such as this Carrot Cake for 30. Girls after my own heart!
Janzen says this about the tradition of bringing a good meal to the table.
The women in our family are the kinds of cooks whom you can’t kerfuffle. You need a dinner for ten an hour from now? No problem. We’ll rustle up homemade bread, noodles, gravy, sausage, whatever. Mennonite food has its delicious moments but our gift lies in the ease with which we cook. Some cooks struggle with timing, with menu planning, with missing ingredients. Not us. Our seven side dishes always come up at exactly the same time, and if we have run out of something, which we rarely do, we have improvised a delicious substitution. We’re idiot savants when it comes to food preparation. You’ve heard of those developmentally delayed folks who can shout out what day of the week it was on May 16, 1804? That’s us, only we’re shouting, “Dinner’s ready!”
I was reminded of a bygone era in my own life when I read this post about Sunday afternoon preparedness, and the spontaneous hospitality shared that I remember from my childhood. There was always enough in case we wanted to invite someone to come home with us.
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