In preparation for Thanksgiving tomorrow I took to the kitchen today to do some cooking. I made the decision to make what I could make today rather than feel rushed tomorrow in putting everything together. For the past few years I’ve been hosting a community potluck Thanksgiving dinner either at the mindfulness center or at my house and we invite anyone from our meditation groups and beyond to join us. Oftentimes our community potlucks through the year are vegetarian but on Thanksgiving we have traditional holiday food alongside vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. It is such a gift to be able to come together as friends and enjoy a fresh delicious meal together on Thanksgiving. This year we’ll have around 14 people for dinner :)
For a vegan main dish item I decided to go with one of my favorite autumn/winter soups: butternut squash soup. Yesterday I went to our local organic food market (The Good Food Store) with a friend of mine and we did our turkey day shopping together. As I was looking around the large wooden box full of an assortment of beautiful local Montana grown squash I found the largest butternut squash of the bunch and took him home. As we have a tendency to name inanimate things here in our household my 14-year old son took straight away in giving him a name when he got home from school: Lumpkin :)
Cutting into Lumpkin the rich golden orange glow of the squash meat inside was simply radiant. As I continued to cut and peel away the skin I could see how this squash was a product of the sun, the soil, the clouds, and many workers. In front of me was great and marvelous gift of the universe!
As the chilly autumn sun shone in through the kitchen windows I was enjoying each step of the process in creating the soup that will help feed my friends come tomorrow. Since I hadn’t waited until tomorrow to make the soup, when I’d also be making a pie and a veggie side dish, I had plenty of time to be with what I was doing as I was doing it. I had time to practice joy and gratitude as I was cooking and it was just lovely.
Alongside the soup I also brewed some tea for tomorrow from the rest of our fresh dried mint from the garden. The aromas coming from the butternut squash baking in the oven and the mint from the stove filled our small little house with sweet earthy flavors.
It simply feels good to create good food from fresh, local, organic ingredients.
Nothing like a 20 quart pot to make the 3 1/2 lb. squash and doubled soup recipe look really small :)
All of the colors, textures, fragrances, flavors, and sounds of cooking were alive for me today. With the practice of mindfulness anything can become a joyful activity full of life. And when I am full of joy I too am full of boundless gratitude for the brilliant abundance of all the things I am afforded in each moment.
May I continue to remember that this life is swimming with beauty.