Does anybody say grace before a meal anymore?

Growing up, this was a ritual that occurred at our dinner table. Every. Single. Night.

I’m sure the intentions for starting this tradition were admirable, but by the time I was a teenager, singing grace at dinner {yes, there was a tune to ours} was a rote exercise.

I took about a 20 year sabbatical from it. Not because I wasn’t grateful for what I had, but doing something simply out of ritual felt “insincere.”

Now, though, saying grace has once again become part of Every. Single. Meal. Not out of tradition or “religion” — but sincere gratitude for the abundance we are blessed with. And while I hope to be grateful throughout the day, mealtime is a great trigger for stopping and acknowledging it.

There’s no tune this time around {thankfully}, and the words change with each meal, but it wouldn’t feel right enjoying my daily bread without thanking the One who provided it.

Sometimes it’s private and silent. A brief word of thanks at my desk before I dive into the leftovers from the night before. Or a private prayer Husband and I share while holding hands at our favorite bar when the flatbread is delivered. Most nights, we’re thanking God for what we have, and asking for blessing and guidance in the daily challenges we’ve talked about while preparing dinner.

Still, every once in awhile, that blessing my family recited thousands of times over the years pops into my head. And I smile, now that the words are rich with meaning.

Oh the Lord is good to me,
and so I thank the Lord,
for giving me
the things I need
the sun and the rain and the appleseed
the Lord is good to me.*

You might recognize one of these popular blessings:

“God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for this food….”

 or 

“Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts which we are about to receive….”

or the one my sister’s family says:

“Thank you for our happy hearts, for the rain and sunny weather. Thank you for our food and friends and that we’re all together.”

and one that my grandfather would say – that still makes me giggle:

 “Pass the meat, and let us eat!”

Another thing that was a constant at Every. Single. Meal was what was on the menu: a meat {usually beef – I’m from Nebraska, for crying out loud!}, some sort of starch and a green vegetable.  And always – ALWAYS – dessert. Even if just a simple cookie with a milk chaser.

This recipe is one from my dad’s “executive assistant” {back then it was ok to call her his “secretary”}. You can use chocolate chips for these instead of butterscotch, but c’mon… break out of your routine! Maybe being “different” was how the cookies earned their name… “Very Good Cookies.”

Very Good Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsps vanilla
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup puffed rice cereal
  • 1 cup butterscotch bits

Instructions

  1. Mix together butter, oil, and next 4 ingredients (through vanilla).
  2. Sift together flour, salt, soda and cream of tartar, and add to butter mixture.
  3. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  4. Drop on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350, 10-12 minutes or until just golden brown. Let cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes, then gently remove to cooling rack.

I love the recipe as is – but maybe you’re not a coconut fan? That’s ok. This recipe calls for 4 cups of “goodies.” Just substitute your favorite cookie-additions to equal 4 cups!

Make ahead tip: Drop dough onto parchment-covered cookie sheet and freeze. Once frozen, store in Ziploc bags and pull out cookies as needed. Bake as normal, adding about 6 minutes if starting frozen.

* The “Johnny Appleseed Song”.

In researching the origins of this tune {For years I just figured it was something Jesus taught the disciples after the Lord’s Prayer…?!} I learned some fascinating things about John Chapman, a.k.a. Johnny Appleseed, and am anxious to read various accounts of his life. First up, The Botany of Desire. Not because it’s about John Chapman per se, but because it’s written by Michael Pollan whom I greatly admire.

What about you? Do you say {or sing} grace? Please share!

Image: Flickr

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