Small triumphs in the kitchen are enough to be thankful for in this vast world

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By: Rachel Shenk

Rachel Shenk

Once a year, in mid-August, the earth spins through the dust and debris of a comet and gives us the chance to see a few meteor showers if we are lucky.

This year, we had clear skies and a very small moon, so the opportunity was just right for viewing. I remembered many years ago, driving out to the country with our family late at night and laying down in the grass, keeping our eyes open for trailing stars. I was lucky to see one with an orange tail streak across the sky.

This year, I decided, was another chance to try to view a meteor shower.

I covered myself up to protect myself from mosquitoes, turned most of the house lights off and went out on the deck. Sitting with my head resting on the back of our deck chair, I let my eyes get used to the darkness and was amazed by the number of stars visible out in the summer sky.

All I can hope for is that I will shine for one instant like those falling meteors.

After about 10 minutes, my eyes adjusted to the night light. I watched as fireflies blinked on and off. I saw plane lights move across the sky. And I listened to the cicadas calling each other. Then, all of a sudden, I caught sight of a tiny falling meteor and then another. The next one streaked in slow motion across the sky and left a trail as it went from right to left. Within an hour or so, I counted 22 meteors falling through my line of vision. Yes, it was a lucky year.

As I sat out on the deck staring at the sky above me, I saw more than the showers. I realized how small I am in this universe, how vast the world out there really is. I was reminded of how little my place is in this huge system and how perspective is everything. Sometimes, what I am going through seems like the biggest event in the world. But it is only my world. There is a huge world out there and I am only one tiny particle in it. Amidst the vastness of this universe, one tiny star shines for a moment. All I can hope for is that I will shine for one instant like those falling meteors.

At the bakery this week, we did have a shining moment. 

Mandy’s request for spicy caramelized bacon turned into a fabulous BLT that we served for lunch. It might have been the best sandwich in the world for one tiny moment. We can be happy with that. Here’s the recipe if you want to try it. 

BLT with avocado and cheese

Ingredients: 

For two sandwiches: 

  • 4 slices of five-grain bread
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 4 slices of Old Amsterdam cheese
  • 1 homegrown tomato, sliced
  • 4 to 6 slices spicy caramelized bacon (see below) 
  • Mixed greens
  • Organic canola mayonnaise

For the spicy caramelized bacon by Ina Garten

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup pecans
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅛ tsp. cayenne
  • Dash of salt (you might not need it if the bacon is very salty)
  • 12 oz. good, local bacon

Directions: 

  1. For the bacon, put the brown sugar and pecans in a food processor. Pulse until chopped.
  2. Add the rest of the spices and pulse until mixed. Lay the bacon on a parchment paper-lined pan. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 5 minutes.
  3. With a spoon, coat each slice with the mixture. Put back in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes more, until the bacon is cooked through and the topping is caramelized. Remove from oven.
  4. Lay on paper towels until ready to use.
  5. Assemble the sandwiches. Enjoy!
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