Monday, March 16, 2009

Sleeping with Bread: Potato Patties

Image from Mel's Dream

When I was a little girl, I remember getting ready in the morning for school and they're would be few things that would hurry me out of bed. Pancakes would, but pancakes were not a school day breakfast. There would be to much a chance of getting syrup on my dress (Yes, these were the days girls still occasionally would wear a dress to school.)or in my pigtail braided hair. Usually we had cereal and juice for breakfast, something like Cheerios or Life. But every now and then, a smell so comforting and appetizing would waft up the steps to my room and coax me from my toasty comforter. Some special school day mornings, my Mom would prepare: potato patties!

They aren't gourmet fare, but they certainly are tasty. Potato patties were simply left over mashed potato's with an egg or two mixed in and dropped into a fry pan coated with butter and cooked till each side of the patty was crispy and golden. To this day, I prefer potato patties instead of home fries or hash browns. Potato patties are comfort food at its best. You can take an everyday leftover and adding a pinch of this, or a pinch of that and poof! You have something to serve that will even peel a teenager out of bed early!

Image from Bella online.

So what, you may wonder do potato patties have to do with Sleeping with Bread? Potato patties are another culinary representation of what we can create, if only we know what to let go of and what we should hold on to. To me, potato patties are a metaphor expressing how something sustaining and tasty can come out of every day life; and that I think is something to hold on to.

This last week held some everyday challenges that seem sort of gray tone in trying to recall them. At the time, I felt a bit flustered and found myself seeking comfort all week. I sought comfort in the books I was reading, the conversations I had and yes, even in the food I ate. It was one of those almost-spring-but-to-cold-to-wear-your- spring-jacket-and-you-better-wear-your-mud-boots kind of weeks.

I felt off-balance in they squishy muddiness of the week. My office was torn apart all week as it was being re-painted by some very kind gentlemen volunteers at the church. I had the blessing of choosing the colors and going to the store to get some decoration trinkets, but I felt dizzy by the fact that my work-space was upside down all week. Order was restored on Friday, but oh do I still have re-filing to do to have it really complete. Ugh, I hate refiling.

I returned to an after school program to teach a multi-media art class for the next few months of Fridays. We had a lovely time making St. Patty's Day Hats. The day after the class was our community St. Patty's Day Parade and the kids were excited to wear their hat art. I love it when they love their glittery, gluey creations.

Sunday was busy with church work: Sunday School songs with the kids, chatting with church members and planning future events, teaching the children's sermon, and try to brainstorm on how to better connect youth members more regularly to church. That is not easy feat I tell you. By the afternoon, I was ready for some comfort food.

I had a lovely afternoon. We all hopped into the car and headed to Grandma's house for a family birthday party. Lunch was already made when we arrived, so we had lunch, watched an old movie and I spent some time with my three-year-old great nephew. I'm amazed how playing Chutes and Ladders, trains, and whatever made up game with him helps me reset myself after a long week.

Image from Laurelville Mennonite Church Center

I sneaked out of the house for a little while to soak up the almost 60 degrees of sunshine that arrived on Sunday afternoon. I walked to a nearby church that has an out door labyrinth. The ground was almost totally thawed. I took off my shoes and walked barefoot on the winter yellowed and now dried grass. I had to slow down and walk as flat footed as I could. There were acorns everywhere. I reached the center of the labyrinth and laid down face up toward the sky on the bench that was there. The sun and sky enveloped me as I simply tried to soak in the comfort of that space. Birds sang, the breeze blew, a car drove by here and there, a cyclist rode up the street, neighbors raked and burnt leaves nearby, and then there was quiet.

Words of songs came to my mind, via my heart. "Jesus, be the center. Be my source, be my hope Jesus.", "Create in me a clean heart, oh Lord my God, and renew a right spirit in me.". Then these words came to me. "Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." Over and over again these words washed over me like the sunshine I was bathing in.

"Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."

Even when the path is covered in snow, your word remains. Even when everything is out of order, your word remains. Even when all I can see is a muddy mess around me, your word remains. Even when the news from around the world is violent and overwhelming, your word remains. Even when I'm not sure how to proceed, your word remains.

Then I recall the blessings:
Like sunshine that finally feels warm on my bare arms, grass that tickles my feet, acorns that fit perfectly in the center of my curled hand, little toddlers that think the best thing in the world is for me to play trains with them, and my middle school boy that still give hugs for a hot breakfast on a early Monday morning.

I made potato patties for breakfast this morning. Mmmmm comfort food.
I figured, "Why not give the ones I love a little comfort to carry with them too?"

Psalm 119:
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path.

106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it,
that I will follow your righteous laws.

107 I have suffered much;
preserve my life, O LORD, according to your word.

108 Accept, O LORD, the willing praise of my mouth,
and teach me your laws.

109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands,
I will not forget your law.

110 The wicked have set a snare for me,
but I have not strayed from your precepts.

111 Your statutes are my heritage forever;
they are the joy of my heart.

112 My heart is set on keeping your decrees
to the very end.


PS. Here's and oven version recipe if you'd like to give Potato Patties a try:

Take your leftover mashed potatoes and add 1 egg and a little bit of milk. Add some onion, grated cheese and even a little bit of chopped green pepper if you like. Mix together.

Form into patties and roll in crushed crackers or corn flake crumbs. Put on cookie sheet and bake in 350 degree oven until hot. Remove from oven and place on broiler rack for a few minutes to brown on the outside.


Mel said...

Ah, potato patties. Himself had never heard of 'em. And explaining to him that tossing left over mashed potatos was BAD--was falling on deaf ears.
I was at a loss of how to indulge him in the culinary delight. I now know! (thank you for that)

My step-mother used to make them--and it's been was about making something good from something 'leftover', something others didn't necessarily see a value in.....

What to hold on to, what to toss.
Surprising things happen when we open our hands and are prepared to receive....when we're open to another way of doing things.

<-- can't wait for the leftovers.

He's in for a real treat!

Thank you, thank you!

Pamela said...

My goodness, I LOVE potato patties. I can't remember the last time I ate them. I'm sure it was when my mother cooked them for me many years ago. Thank you for the recipe. I'm definitely going to give them a try and show my husband and son what yummy goodness they are!

Your Sunday sounds like a blessing. I'm so glad you had a beautiful, uplifting day. Thank you for posting that passage as those words are special to me.

Have a blessed week!