Homemade Pasta, A Parable

As you get older, you find that often the wheat disentangles itself from the chaff and comes out to meet you.  
      ------Gwendolyn Brooks
Years ago, during an interview for an administrative position in a school district in California, I was asked to name my three pillars of philosophy. I quickly named my three principles of education, but upon completion of my well-rehearsed answer, they kindly said, "Yes, we know what you wrote in your application package.  We are asking on a more personal nature, specifically, on what do you draw for personal growth?"
In a speed-of-light review of my life, I offered this response:

The three foundational pillars that continue to form the person that I am and the person I hope to be are:

(1) a strong belief that a loving God exists and has instilled in me a compassion for others. 
(2) a culture that believes in the strength of family and generational traditions. 
(3) a thirst for knowledge from enlightened minds. 
Then I was asked, "How do they all interplay?"

(Hmmmm. Something I had not thought of . . . yet.)
Amazing how the mind reaches far back to where things are stored and presents you an image, one stand-alone image that won't let you go.  I thought of the ring of flour with eggs at the center, and how my mom made her homemade pasta.

The doubt in me screamed, "Are you kidding me?"

But it was the word 'interplay' that fired up this image. Trusting in that image I went with it.
As a young girl, I would watch my mother make homemade pasta for Sunday dinner.  She would spread the sifted wheat flour on a board, making a large space in the center where eggs would be dropped.  A nearby bowl of water stood ready for use. 

Next, she would scramble the eggs with a fork until a giant sun appeared. I would wonder aloud, why this and why that, but my questions seemed to interrupt the movements. So, I would just watch the ballet that was about to begin.
 (and I demonstrated as I spoke. . .)  With an orchestrated flick of her fingers, she would direct sections of ring of flour into the eggs.  Here and there, more and more, until all of the flour and egg comingled along with some splashes of water.  As the mixture thickened, a ball of dough was created. 
I explained to the panel before me. The gathering of wheat goes back generations, connecting us to our early ancestors.  Sifting the flour removes all impurities so the pasta will have a lighter texture, unburdened by unwanted elements. Eggs are the symbols of life representing continuous renewal.  And finally, the water represents currents of knowledge that flows into the mix.

In a real sense, the interplay of all three, the wheat, eggs and water, guides me, but the most important part is yet to come . . .


I explained: Kneading the dough requires the discipline of strength, perseverance and endurance . . . then the dough must rest, creating a space for reflection. To me, we cannot discount the process of reflection, the continuous interplay of what is known and what may be. 
Out of the sighs of one generation are the kneaded hopes of the next.
     -----Machado de Assis
Life is a mixture of magic and pasta.
       ------Federico Fellini
I was offered the job.


The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares (Impurities)

Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’  He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’ ”   
        -------Matthew 13:24-30

5 Comments Add yours

  1. lunchpartner says:

    And you still, continue to inspire!


    1. Thank you Lunchpartner. Maybe soon —- a plate of homemade pasta.


  2. Nancy E Buhrer says:

    Gloria, this is wonderful!!!!! I am sure the interview committee was impressed!!!! As was I!!! Thank you for this inspiring wisdom!!!!


  3. Bill R says:

    Did you take the job? They would have gotten a bargain.


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