One of the things I enjoy about living in the northeast is our distinct seasons. Winter, for example, can be difficult for me at times, but it can also be a season of awe and beauty. I was in the backyard today splitting a few logs for the evening’s heat when I glanced at my grapevine. It caught me off guard…I was looking at the barren vine coming out of the snow and remembering planting it a few years ago. This past summer there were far more grapes on it than I could possibly consume, but to look at it now it looked as if it would never grow a single leaf, let alone a bushel of grapes. Then I remembered this quote about Brother Lawrence:
“The first time I saw Brother Lawrence was on the 3rd of August, 1666. He told me that God had done him a singular favor in his conversion at the age of eighteen. During that winter, upon seeing a tree stripped of its leaves and considering that, within a little time, the leaves would be renewed and, after that, the flowers and fruit appear; Brother Lawrence received a high view of the providence and power of God which has never since been effaced from his soul.”
Brother Lawrence, ironically (I suppose) was a cook in a monastery. You can read, download, and print his entire book here.
Here’s a picture of what the now-barren vine looked like last summer; it will even be more full and robust this summer…something to look forward to.
On a different note: For dinner I had a Lebanese Pizza. It’s a standard dough topped with za’atar seasoning, labna, olive oil, and onions. The za’atar and labna give it a sort of tart-and-salty flavor…it is (was) truly delicious. You can use the same method for the dough as this one (or the actual dough, if you want to make it a little more interesting). For a recipe for homemade yogurt and how to make labna (and other fermented foods), click here.