“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”
Every year when Mother’s Day rolls around I reminisce about my childhood. My mother passed away when I was a baby and not long after that my mother’s parents lovingly took me into their home and raised me. I have many fond memories of them and the little pink house that Grandpa built in the little Idaho town.
I remember those beautiful spring days that would begin to stretch out longer and the temperatures slowly beginning to climb and produce from the garden began to increase. The garden was my Grandfather’s pride and joy and probably a place of solace as well. He would bring in armfuls of greens, still warm from the sun with the smell of fresh soil still hugging at the roots. But what really got me excited was when it was time to harvest the rhubarb. It was a short period during the spring when our few plantings of rhubarb would be ruby red and ready for picking and the strawberries planted nearby were heavy, bright red, and sweet. This was the time for strawberry and rhubarb pie. And boy, did Grandma know how to make a pie.
There wasn’t a recipe only intuition and her hands that new the task well. I loved to watch her. She would hum and I would kneel on the kitchen stool sneaking a berry or taking a leftover stalk of rhubarb and dip it into the sugar bowl. Grandma would scoop her coffee cup into the flour tin then into the sugar, giving the mix a turn with her hands. Adding the shortening and butter, (at a ratio I will never know) she would use her fingers to blend the ingredients. Then came the iced water drip by drip until it was the consistency she needed. When it was time to roll the dough the decks would be cleared and a toss of flour went onto the board, then the rolling pin was produced to finish the job. It all seemed so easy, and I relished the entertainment. But probably, even more, I enjoyed the results. The tender, flaky crust that encased the sweet-tart blend of freshly harvested rhubarb and strawberries is a combination that cannot be improved upon.
It was in these kinds of moments that we would chat about everything and nothing. Somehow as I watched her roll out the dough with knowing hands my soul would seem to soften and the words would flow. Wisdom, encouragement, and sometimes correction were on her lips and her words would settle themselves deep within me, just like the fruit that was nestled into the blanket of crust and then tucked in and crimped lovingly. I enjoyed many years sitting on that stool, watching Grandma cook, listening, and learning.
Many years have gone by since Grandma passed away. But the Lord has brought other incredible women who have shared their lives with me and me with them. I’m reminded that the role of a mother can look very different for many women. One of the most meaningful roles that a mother plays is the role of nurturer. A nurturer by definition cares for and encourages the growth and development of someone.
As you reflect today on those nurturers in your life, those women that have encouraged, comforted, consoled, and instructed you with wisdom, affection, and grace, pause and thank God for them.
There are some questions below that are intended to bring some of those nurturers past and present to your mind. Glance over the list and as their names and faces come back to your remembrance say a prayer for them. And then express your gratitude with a call, text, or note of thanks for all they have done.
Who do you laugh with?
Who do you cry with?
Who is it that would fight for you?
Who would you most likely reach out to the quickest in a personal crisis?
Who would you consider to be your prayer warrior?
Who can you count on to celebrate you without a hint of jealousy?
Who in your life would it be hard to run off?
In honor of my Grandma I have a recipe to share with you that brings the perfect pairing of strawberry and rhubarb together without the fuss of making a pie crust. This is a delightfully simple crisp with a crumbly oatmeal top that is sure to please. Serve the crisp warm in bowls with freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
I think even Grandma would have liked it.
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
1 lb. rhubarb, sliced in 1 in. pieces
2 pints strawberries, hulled, sliced in half
Zest and juice from 3 oranges
¼ cup flour
¼ cup of sugar
1 stick butter, chilled, cubed
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup oats
Pinch of salt
¼ cup toasted hazelnuts, skins removed, chopped coarsely (substitute walnuts, or slivered almonds)
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease an 8 x 11 baking dish and set aside. In a bowl combine sliced rhubarb, strawberries, zest, and juice from the oranges, flour, and sugar. Toss gently to incorporate flour and sugar throughout. Pour into prepared baking dish.
For the topping I like to use a food processor, but a pastry cutter, fork or even your fingers work as well. Combine chilled, cubed butter, with the flour, sugar, and salt, pulse a few times until butter is the size of small peas. Add oatmeal and pulse once or twice, just enough to get it mixed through, but not chopped too small. Crumble mixture over the top of the strawberry rhubarb mixture. Top with the roasted hazelnuts and bake for 45 minutes until the top is browned nicely and the mixture is bubbling through the cracks. Serves 8
Serve warm with freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Shannon Davidson, Salt+Clay Magazine