THE OCCASIONAL LUMP in mashed potatoes is culinarily acceptable to me, because it means the potatoes are real. Not instant.
When you dine at the annual fall harvest dinner at Trinity Lutheran Church North Morristown, as I did on Sunday, you get (mostly) authentic homemade food. Potatoes that have been peeled and mashed in the church basement. Sometimes with lumps. Baked turkey and ham sliced into roasters. Squash picked from the garden and baked. Cranberries that are prepared, not dumped from a can.
As much as I savor the delicious food served at this church dinner, I also delight in the location and the people.
To drive into the country on an October Sunday to celebrate the harvest among hard-working folks rooted in the land seems a rural pilgrimage.
To wait in the pews of an aged church, stained glass windows filtering light, seems almost sacred.
In the fellowship of church diners, there’s a reverent respect for those who labor in the church basement. For they provide that which fills the stomach as much as the soul with all that is good. Food and fellowship.
There’s something simply satisfying about sitting on a folding chair in the closeness of a church basement communing with others at a Thanksgiving style meal. Conversation and pass the coleslaw please. Or the cranberries. Clatter of knives and forks and a swarm of volunteers squeezing between tables to pour coffee and deliver plates of frosted cakes and then, afterward, to clear plates and set new place settings.
North Morristown is authentically, next to cornfields and farm sites, rural. It’s as rural as chickens in the pastor’s backyard.
It’s as rural as Sven the dog roaming the church grounds.
It’s as rural as a grain truck and a wagon brimming with soybeans a farm site away.
No pretentiousness exists here. Even the pastor excuses himself to wash dishes in the church basement.
© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling