Thursday, November 19, 2009

Table Grace: Earthly Goods

Potter's clay appeals to us as few substances can. Like mud for making pies or sand for building castles, it casts a magic spell when transformed into platters and plates.

Behind finished surfaces lie origins in rock-ribbed mother earth. From mountainous stones, the forces of sun and wind, rain, and frost extract the ingredients for clay--silicates of aluminum, flint, sand, and iron. Down the mountain torrent the elements are carried to stagnant backwaters on the plain where they settle into wide and oozy beds of mud. There they age for centuries until one day the clayey soil is retrieved and taken to the pottery.

For serene abbey-style souls, the rainbow ends in the pots of gold set on the table. Nuggets of sweet and red potatoes, roasted and spooned onto ceramic platters, stand out on white tablecloths like stones on the side of a snow-covered mountain. Freshly steamed ears of corn, cradled in earthenware, bring summer images of field and sun to the tabletop. Large, round loaves of bread wait on wooden slabs and lidded crockery invites the discovery of mouth-watering riches inside. It's the mother lode of earthly goods--pay dirt and clay pots filled with abundance.

The warmth of earthenware bowls and platters suggests rock-solid generosity and salt-of-the-earth hospitality--perfect for feeding the hungry flock during Thanksgiving.

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