La Caja China didn't happen. The turkey's not going to deep fry. The grill ran out of propane. Or maybe the power went out. Weather grounded the plane/train/automobile. If all that's missing from your table is sage for your stuffing, or you forgot to pull out that little bag of giblets from the inside of the turkey again, but yet you are gathering one way or the other for Thanksgiving, for Hanukkah, for both -- give voice. Say a toast, speak a blessing, read a poem and raise a glass -- crystal, Dixie or mason -- to the whole mishegas -- this one beautiful, chaotic delicious mess. Here is an eclectic collection of graces. Reverent and irreverent. All sustaining in moment, truth, and in praise. So please, enjoy. Eat well and eat in peace today and every day.
"May this bless me and All that is connected to me, which is Everyone, and Everything." ~ Holly Bellebuono, herbalist, Vineyard Herbs Teas & Apothecary
From Sherrie Brooks Vinton, "Na Zdrowie!" which is Polish for "to your health!"
A toast, contributed by Kate Adamick, Co-Founder, Cook for America (R)
"Let the wealthy and great roll in splendour and state,
I envy them not, I declare it
For I eat my own ham, my own chicken and lamb
I shear my own fleece and I wear it."
From the 19th century folk song, "A Farmer's Toast"
A Blessing for Those Who Pass the Peace
Blessed are the peacemakers,
They love their enemies,
so that we might have none.
They lead by serving, not by lording,
so that we are not subject.
They forgive, and not avenge, when we least expect to,
so that grace fills our hearts.
They comfort the afflicted,
so we recognize our actions.
They lay down their weapons,
so that we will learn of war no more.
They spend their time on others,
so we will not be lonely.
They touch the untouchable,
so we know what its like to be held.
They heal the sick and comfort the dying,
Because we will all be there.
Blessed are the peacemakers, thank you for passing the peace,
And may peace also be with you.
~ Mike Martin is the Executive Director of RAWtools, Inc.
"Today, may we all know the mystery of being awake in the moment. May we all know the fire of Real Love. And may we embrace my dear mom Joy's mantra, 'Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever.' " ~ Destin Layne
This poem by Lucas Farrell, farmer:
"Before You Eat Our Little Goat, Elvis"
Say the land that graced his presence
raspberry, sun kissed clover
Say you're sorry
Say you're hungry
Say you're sorry but you're hungry
Say you're grateful for good soil,
for his fresh, milk-fed-flesh
rubbed with parsley, salt and oil--
pepper medley, twig of birch, sprig of mint,
splash of port, fresh squeezed lemon,
Hefeweisen, garden rosemary, leaf of aspen,
cherry sapling, sugar maple, sweet molasses,
Pinch of thyme
(Hint of urine in the wind)
Say his voice
that swelled at sun rise
has achieved a frightful distance
Say the dead stay dead a while
Then live again in another measure
This blessing by John Weatherhogg who serves as the Grace Congregational (UCC) Church in Rutland, Vermont:
"Let us raise our glass.
In an instantaneous, blog-driven complex world
let us pause to consider the simple mechanisms of plant biology
that have fed a world since the dawn of time and feeds us even now.
We raise our glass to the complex simplicities of planting and harvesting.
With memories that fill our ears with laughter and our eyes with tears,
let us pause to remember loved ones whose traditions we honor circling this table.
We raise our glass to the memorials that continue in the laughter shared and stories retold.
For a world whose abundance seems challenged and overwhelming at the same time,
let us pause to be humbled by the enormity of natural systems that deploy warnings not too vague to quicken actions for rejuvenation of her health and well-being.
We raise our glass to bid a spirit of community would drive our resolve to enact the changes required of long term well being.
Let us pause to reflect upon the many blessings enlivening this moment;
for one another and the communities represented through each of us.
Let us raise our glasses in thanks-giving
for our health, for abundance, for family and friends,
for a faith that we can and will
love and care.
Let us raise our glass and be glad."
From Rabbi Caryn Broitman, of the Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Center
The Shehekhiyanu, which translates to:
"Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who has given us life, sustained us, and brought us to this time."
A meditation by Ann Flood, Co-Publisher/Editor Edible Chicago magazine
"Standing before a table full of abundance of good food and drink, there comes a responsibility of the heart. To have a genuine hunger to do good for those less fortunate, and to be equally, deeply grateful for all that has manifested before you. Vow to be a vessel of Thanksgiving. Think it, believe it, say it as a prayer, and be prepared to take action. Be grateful for not only for what you drink, but for the vessel that you are holding. Bake not one loaf of bread, but bake two. What is given to you today in abundance is given that you might share it with others."
"May you always find your table full, your friends close, and your stereo loud." By Robert Booz, cook, advocate, writer, a man shaped by food.
And lastly, this toast contributed by Peter Kaminsky, author, atheist, believer:
"If all the relatives can shut up for twenty seconds, I love you all and you know you feel the same. Let's drink deep as one. All we have in this universe is one another."
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