Pray. Sweat. Eat Date Butter. Repeat. This is the first post of 2023 that I can label, Eat. I confess that I’ve had dates on the brain all day. Whenever I hold a date between my thumb and forefinger, I press down lightly and watch the pit emerge from this exotic fruit. I can’t claim that this action evokes childhood memories. I never ate them as a child.
My first time seeing one was in an Indiana Jones movie. Indy tosses a date up in the air, and before he can catch and eat it, his friend, Sallah, snatches it in midair. He does this to protect Indiana Jones from eating a poisoned piece of fruit. Sallah’s only remark is, “Bad dates,” as the camera pans to the lifeless body of a Capuchin monkey, who had died from eating one. Has God ever snatched something out of your hands before you got a taste?
I’m not sure why this scene is replays in my mind when I purchase a package of dates. Could it be the power of first impressions that allows this memory to linger? I wash them carefully and pray before I eat them. Not because I’m afraid of being poisoned, but because I’ve experienced digestive issues and am super cautious about food lately. I’m grateful to count dates among the things I can eat.
I Can’t Eat Just One
This sweet treat is now one of my go-to snacks. Whenever they’re available in our market, I’ve been guilty of eating them one after another, like a child with an Easter basket full of jelly beans. Dates are rich in nutrients and are perfect for people like me with a sweet tooth who want to avoid processed refined sugars. When I discovered that I could preserve them, I knew that I needed to make a batch.
My recipe is simple:
Twelve pitted dates and 1 liter of water. I’m one of those people who tend to ‘cook from the spirit.’ I loved my Big Mama’s (my grandmother) apple butter. Her kitchen smelled like love each time she made a batch. And this date butter serves as a reminder of sitting at her table, prepping fruit to preserve for the winter. I add the pitted dates to a pot of boiling water and let it cook down to a consistency that speaks to me. No spices, no added sugars, just dates and water. Pray. Sweat. Eat Date Butter. Repeat. This is the rhythm of this cold and dreary day. And it’s a perfect treat for those of you on a Daniel Fast.
P.S. If you decide to make date butter, let me know!