Weather: 16 degrees, sun rising
What I’m listening to: dog paws clicking across the floor, two kids collecting eggs, one child rustling Legos around in the storage box
I was standing in line holding a bouquet of spring flowers. The woman behind me in line remarked, “Well aren’t those beautiful?” They were – vibrant, fragrant, full of color and life. I agreed with her, then felt compelled to tell her that I was on my way to deliver them to a family that had just lost a loved one. Without saying a word, she kindly grabbed my upper arm and squeezed it gently, as if to say she understood, a deep sense of knowing in her eyes. I was touched by that encounter, the simple grace of a stranger on an emotional, trying day.
The very next time I was in town shopping, I grabbed a couple of bunches of tulips to put in my kitchen, just because. They are my favorite and I can’t even tell you why; they just are. Since then, they have brightened my days and captivated my senses each time I step into the room or glance their direction. Flowers have an uncanny ability to speak to any occasion, any mood. They comfort you in sad times and they celebrate with you in the happy times, and all the day-to-day times in between.
Food is much the same way. We celebrate around food, we mourn around food. We give food as gifts in good times and bad. It lifts the spirit and it comforts the soul. Sitting down to a meal -the daily ritual of it – grounds us, slows us down, helps us pause and take it all in. Food helps remind us of the things we have to be thankful for and gives us the strength we need to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
In this particular moment, the food is a lovely batch of Banana Nutella Swirl Muffins, a nod to my earlier Pumpkin Nutella Swirl Muffins recipe. From the days when I first discovered Nutella, I have adored it with bananas. In my mind, this muffin was just meant to be. And the Nutella swirl technique is just so striking and pretty, I was excited to have a reason to do it again.