Pasta. We love it. Not the dried mass produced kind you buy off the shelf. The fresh kind. The kind you make yourself from a simple cup of stone ground flower, a single freerange egg and a pinch of salt.
We mix the dough by hand, roll it out into thin firm sheets and cut it into the strips or shapes we want, cook it for 2 minutes and enjoy the most delectable pasta you can possibly imagine.
Earlier this evening we had the ritual again. Pippa grabbed the ingredients. Zuko sprinkled flour all over the table at the centre of our kitchen, while Theunsie & Soffie set the table and then together we made our pasta. As we were rolling the dough thinner and thinner it struck me that this is a new and wonderful ritual our family has adopted. For a long time we were content with chucking dried shapes into a boiling pot and calling it pasta.
Then we met Sue. What a gift she gave us. It was with the birthday of a friend that she received us in her home and opened the world and simplicity of fresh pasta to us. We were so intrigued by Sue and her pasta that we visited her soon afterwards for a more intimate time and then wrote an article for a local magazine in an attempt to capture some of her beautiful story (here is a link if you’d like to read that article).
Ever since we met Sue and she showed us, pasta has become something amazing in our home. Not just food anymore. A meal. A time together. A creative moment. An experience. It has become something which is fresh in every sense of the word every time we create it and yet familiar and comfortable and exquisite.
Sue did more than show us how to make fresh pasta. She showed us that we were content with so little for so long, even thinking that what we were used to was the best there could be. She showed us something amazing and fabulous was simple and easy and attainable. She let us make it, guiding us until we felt the perfect texture between our fingers. She let us taste it bringing understanding and desire to us through experience. She gave us constant togetherness around food which spread from making pasta together to cooking together and then enjoying our meal with loads of conversation. Through something as simple as pasta she gave us renewed opportunity to nurture intimacy.
Sue no longer lives around the corner from us. She married and moved to Australia where she gives more meaning to her belief that ‘a human being is nothing but a story with a skin around it’. What a story she is from India to Kenya to Ceylon via Nelson Mandela Bay to Australia (if you’d like to follow some of her story, she also blogs and you will find her Soulfood Traveller Blog here.)
Another realisation emerged tonight between the dough and flower and coversation: we need people to ‘show us’.
And we need to show.
Not abrasively or forceful, but with warmth and love and invitation.
It is interesting how complacent we can be. How accepting we are of ‘normal’ and I’m not talking of moving from mass produced dried out pasta to freshly made pasta anymore, although it is my metaphor and a very apropriate one at that.
We accept that ‘this’ is how it should be.
This is the best we can expect.
This is how relationships are.
This is what life has to offer.
This is the complete range on offer in terms of living and faith and spirituality.
Imagine if we started showing each other.
Imagine if we started sharing the little secrets we’ve discovered.
Imagine if we were open to others showing us.
Showing us new ways of relating.
Showing us different ways of making sense.
Giving us hope.
Why is it that we are willing to let people ‘show us’ how to do a job, but we are reluctant to allow people to show us something hidden and unexpected with regards to our life which is so much more than a job?
This is probably my last post for 2010. We’re off to the river with the river-clan to celebrate the good things and mourn the dissapointments of the past year while welcoming a new year filled with new opportunities and experiences.
Wouter will be there. He ‘showed me’ that we all have fears and that bravery isn’t the absence of those fears, but the overcoming of them.
Alan will be there. He ‘showed me’ generosity and new perspective on my own pain.
Jacqui will be there. She showing me how to live through dissapointment, how to celebrate what we have and make sense of what we do not have.
Tania will be there. She is showing me a mirror, often and again, of how our expectations can never be met and how it is okay for it is these imensily dreamy expectations which push us forward and make our world better.
Zuko will also be there. Off course she’ll be there. There is no way I’ll welcome a new year without my Zuko. It won’t be a celebration for it is she who shows me every day the beauty inside myself. Beauty which I am often unwilling to recognise. It is she who is showing me how to trust and be confident about the future and how to be organic in life, allowing myself and my children and friends to grow and become over time.
We need people.
To show us.
It is not a sign of weakness.
It is not filled with shame.
We don’t have to be the strong tree which stands on its own.
This makes life rich.
So this is my wish and prayer and blessing for you for not only a single new year, but for a lifetime: that you will freely allow people ‘to show you’ and be shown and show. Life. Faith. Friendship. Hope. Freedom. And in all of it that you may become more than you ever imagined.
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Just click this link to take a look: Theunis Pienaar in Amzaon.