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Posts Tagged ‘food’

Is it strange that the real purpose of this trip was to do the Jack Daniel Distillery Tour? 

Especially since I don’t even drink it or anything like it?

Well, see, I find the production of any kind of alcohol – fermentation, distillation, viticulture, what have you – so fascinating from both a chemical and historical perspective.  I can’t help but wonder how people stumbled upon and then developed these processes, and the great care and precision that goes into making any of it on a high level.

It’s such a contrast to my slovenly, “that’ll do” way of life, I suppose…it’s like visiting another country for me…

(I read good things about the George Dickel tour as well, but I didn’t really want to take that extra jog up  to Tullahoma, so Jack it was).

It’s a very good tour.  I’ve done a few of these factory-type tours – Golden Flake here in town, Blue Bell down in Sylacauga, etc.. – and this one ranks.  The guide we got was an older guy, confident, at ease, knowledgeable and there was a refreshing paucity of awkward jokes. The history was thorough, the chemistry was clearly explained – those big bubbling vats of fermenting mash won’t be forgotten, the hard sell was at a minimum, and limited to the unattainable “single barrel” club.

The tour is free (there’s another two-hour tasting tour that costs $10), and today, a summer weekday, we were able to get on a tour that left within 10 minutes of our arrival, no problem.  You ride a bus up to the  charcoal-burning yard, and then walk back down, going into the original offices, the fermentation building and the distillation building on the way, as well as the cave spring, of course.  It was really interesting to see the mash bubbling away – not the greatest scent, but interesting to have the kids pick out the yeast smell…

A few images (no photos allowed indoors)

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Vintage Texaco in Cowan, TN.  We went to Lynchburg via Sewanee.  (“Mom, what does that mean?”  “What?” “What you just said…’pretentious.'”  “Oh….that….”)

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Back roads

Jack Daniels Distillery

Charcoal being made from sugar maple. Very hot!

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The way home took us through Huntsville, so I thought about stopping for the “Robot Zoo” exhibit at the Space Center (free admission because of membership in our science museum), but time got away from us, we had to be back in town for a meeting tonight, so not this time.  I did, however, take a 10-mile detour off the interstate to visit the Mennonite-run bakery.  Very good! With chickens out front who got away before I could dig my camera out of my purse.

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Close up of the Scripture text on the wrapper:

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— 1 —

Atlas Obscura has become one of my favorite sites.  For example, check this out:

Built as a residential home in 1630, in the heart of the oldest part of Amsterdam and bordering the infamous red light district, this particular steep-gabled building holds a remarkable secret. Making your way through the nearly 400-year-old corridors, kitchens, and bedrooms, there is a narrow and steep staircase that leads to the upper floors. Where, hidden away in the attic, is a magnificently miniature, fully-appointed Catholic church.

The clandestine church, known in Dutch as a “schuilkerk,” was secreted away in the attic on purpose due to the persecution of Catholicism in Holland in the 17th century. Unable to hold mass in public, Jan Hartmann converted the attic of his home to a church in 1663.

— 2 —

I think I shared before that my younger sons were going to be serving every single liturgy of Holy Week at the convent. Well, they did!

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And it was lovely.

— 3 —

I read Christopher Beha’s Arts and Entertainments – it had been praised in various faith-n-lit forums, so when I saw it on the library shelf, I decided to give it a go.  It’s a very quick, initially entertaining read – I read most of in one evening.

It’s the story of a youngish man who teaches drama in his own high school alma mater.  He’s a failed proessional actor, whose former girlfriend has gone on to star in a wildly successful television show.  Married, he and his wife struggle with fertility, and in order to pay for treatments,assured of anonymity in the transaction, he succumbs to temptation and sells a sex tape made with his former girlfriend.

Of course the veil is ripped away immediately, and the novel is about the power of contemporary reality-television culture and there was certainly a theological/spiritual observation being made. As the kingmaker reality-television producer (a former seminarian) declares, the audience has replaced God as the arbiter of good and evil, as the motivator for human choice and behavior:

“In the world I used to live in, good is whatever God wants. That’s it. There’s no other measuring stick. There is no good before God. When we say that God is good, all we’re saying is that God is God. In the world I live in now, it’s the same thing. There’s only one criterion. What does the audience want? Does the audience want you to be honest? Does the audience want you to be kind? . . . The audience has only one way of expressing its interest—by watching. They might watch because they love you. They might watch because they hate you. They might watch because they’re sick. Doesn’t matter. Is that good or bad? The question doesn’t make any sense. Good is whatever the audience watches.”

I think this is an astute observation, but I think that Beha actually doesn’t cut deeply enough here.  In confining his characters’ hijinks to the world of television-and-movies celebrity and reality TV, he lets the rest of us off the hook.

I say this because “the audience” isn’t just people who watch TV and peruse gossip sites. The “audience” that must be pleased is composed of our blog readers, Facebook friends, Instagram and Twitter followers…all of which feeds the human temptation to make choices and behave for thGod’e sake of others’ opinions rather than God’s will.

It’s the temptation to perform instead of just live.

So…three stars for Arts and Entertainments because, while it certainly kept me entertained, it did get a bit repetitive and stayed on a level that was just too safe.

— 4 —

So I bought this in Spain.

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People were puzzled.

Why would you want a sharp carrot?

Well, I finally broke it out and used it this week, and here’s how it’s done.

There’s an edge that functions as a peeler, and it’s nice and sharp.

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And then you use the “sharpener” part to make curls or rosettes.  Nifty.

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And if you really want to, you can certainly just sharpen your carrot:

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As I said before, I got this at a shop called Tiger, which I would love to see in the US: a Dollar Tree with Ikea design sensibilities.

— 5 —

I fell down on the Easter egg stuff this year, but honestly, with 10- and 14-year old boys in the house, the pressure is not overwhelming.  Although this year’s version (I didn’t have the energy to tackle the Ukrainian eggs this year) was chemically and mechanically intriguing enough that the 14-year old  wandered into the kitchen on night and made a couple of his own volition.

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I bought some 100% pure silk ties at the thrift store – darker colors are preferred.  Then you wrap the eggs in that fabric, then wrap each again in a square of white sheet or pillowcase, and boil for fifteen minutes.

The site I got this from recommended not eating the eggs because of the risk from the dye  You can do blow-out eggs in this manner, but you’d need to weight them down in the boiling water.

If I ever do this again (which I probably won’t), I would make sure the silk was more evenly wrapped and every bit of eggshell was in contact with fabric.  We had some blank patches. I’ll also remember to put vinegar into the water next time….

— 6 —

 Alabama:  Where you go from a slight morning and evening chill to three-foot mosquitos showing up in your house all within a week’s time.

— 7 —

Looking for gifts for First Communion? Mother’s Day?

Got it!

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days

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Time flies so quickly, doesn’t it?  Two weeks ago, I was getting ready for us to travel to Germany.  A week ago, I was in Germany, getting ready to leave, and now, here I am.

Traveling – hours and hours on the plane, the stress of making connections – gives us plenty to complain about, but I confess when I am in the midst of it, I try hard not to do so.  I’m still so bowled over by the reality of waking up on one side of the ocean and going to sleep on the other that in my soul, I really don’t think I have the right to complain (much) about an inconvenience here or there.

(And there were a couple…the lesson is, I suppose, with all of these code-shared flights now, just make sure, if there are changes made, that they are made across the board. What happened, in short, was that a couple of weeks before we left, I noticed that our final Atlanta-Birmingham leg had been changed.What? Why? I don’t know, but it had been changed so that we would be sitting in the Atlanta airport for SIX HOURS waiting to connect to come home. The original flight still existed and there were seats, but we weren’t on it anymore. Weird. . So I called Air France – which was where the communication on which I’d noted this change had come from – and it was changed back.  The customer service rep had no idea why my original reservation had been changed, and worked hard to fix it. All was well until we arrived at the Munich airport last Sunday.  I guess…we weren’t on the plane.  We were but we weren’t? I never really understood. For a few minutes it was iffy, but I wasn’t worried because, well, I knew we’d get home eventually, and if it was later…oh well.  I was curious as to why it happened though, and the explanation I got was that since the change had been made with Air France, it hadn’t gotten into the Delta or KLM system. That seems….odd. What are you supposed to do, call all three every time you need to make a change? Anyway, it worked out, and we got home just fine.)

Random notes:

  • The weather was great.  I had anticipated being frozen, and indeed, had inquired of a skiing friend here  about the possibility of borrowing some of her outerwear.  I’m glad I didn’t end up doing so, for in the end, what we had was more than adequate.  I stepped off the train in Garmisch, expecting to shiver, but the fact was, I had to take my coat off.  Immediately. The highs were in the 50’s every day we were there except for the last one, it never rained, – and yes, we froze in Munich, but again…we were in Munich!  And we could go inside when we needed to! No complaints.
  • I have never been a fan of German food.  I don’t hate it, but nor do I love it, and I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the food part of the trip, and, as usual, I wondered how the boys would deal.  Well, I should have remembered that every country seems to have its version of the “pounded, breaded and fried cutlet” so yes, it was Schnitzel almost every meal for them, and that was fine.  For our sit-down dinners, I ended up with an excellent pork roast once, a great salad one night and that lovely Turkish meal.  The other nights we ended up snacking on cured meats and cheeses, for the most part.  I had a good goulash soup for lunch in Oberammergau and for our first meal, my daughter took us to her favorite doner kebab shop in Garmisch.  At other meals, the boys had brats or pizza.  But seriously – schnitzel in Germany, chicken Milanese in Italy….they even unearthed it on a menu in this seafood place in Progreso, Mexico earlier this year – and loved it so much, they ordered seconds. (That was a crazy meal.  It was the best food we had in Mexico, and it was fantastic, and it was a lot, and I paid 14 bucks for it all.)
  • I have no background in the German language at all, and was mildly irritated by the fact that I couldn’t look at signs and such and sort out the meaning, as I generally can with Romance languages.  It’s just a whole lot of consonants to me.  Oh, I know, it makes sense.  Someone explained the logic of German to me – words are just added to in order to make new words? Or something?  I will say, though, that all those amusing videos about the purported harshness of German seem to me to be rather unfair now –  hearing it spoken all around me for a week, it came across as much gentler than I expected.
  • All the public transportation ran like clockwork.  We rode buses all around Garmisch – had a free traveler’s pass – and trains from Munich and back, and a train to Innsbruck. My daughter says it’s so prompt that if a bus or train is, by some chance, late, she gets worried that someone died.

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— 1 —

Last weekend was mostly lived without the boys around – they were camping – so in their absence I did things like extended my exercise time (fun!), watched a Fellini film, went to Mass on a Saturday during college football season and ate at a restaurant that doesn’t have chicken fingers or pizza on the menu.

— 2 —

I also hit an estate sale. Now, the boys don’t mind going to estate sales.  Most of the time, in fact, when I offer, they choose to come along.  Joseph is always on the lookout for sports cards and Michael for…anything, Mexican themes preferred.

But this one – one of the few this weekend (estate sales really slow down around here during college football season – see #1) was kind of far out of town, and not one that I’d have dragged them to.

About 2/3 of the estate sales I go to are in homes that have been fairly well kept up, some spectacularly so.  The other 1/3 are thought-provoking, sad and sometimes horrible.  This was one of those.

It was in a fairly large Tudor in what was one of the “better” neighborhoods of this outlying community. The area was probably fairly sharp in the 80’s, but, well, it’s not the 80’s.  And this home was a wreck.  No serious cleaning in probably 30 years, threadbare, filthy carpet, piles of stuff everywhere, general decrepitude and worse, really. The house was for sale, but honestly, you’d have to gut it to even begin to make it livable.

It only took a quick look to see that there wasn’t anything I’d be interested in (often even in those situations I can find a small bookshelf or table that’s great for a quick, cheap, colorful redo – not here), and then lingered at the top of the stairs to the basement,listening to the fellow running the sale relate the late owner’s story – a 95-year old woman who’d fallen outside while taking down her flag. Broke her hip, complications ensued, and she died.

I always wonder..she was living in this?  Was she so stubborn that she wouldn’t allow anyone to help her?  Did she have children, grandchildren or other relations? Were they all awful people, had she alienated them, had they just drifted apart?

And just as the estate sales are reminders to me about where my real treasure lies, they’re also reminders to…try very hard not to be that 95-year old woman living in squalor.  Five kids…my chances are decent that one of them will still like me enough in forty years, right?

Anyway, after I finished eavesdropping looking upstairs, I headed to the basement and was stopped short by what greeted me on the stairway.  Papering the walls of the stairway, one side even backlit somehow, were pinups from no later than the 60’s – torn and cut out from magazines and calendars, I suppose, most very demure – and at the bottom of the stairs a basement full of what you would find in a basement workshop, much of piled up, some surprisingly organized.

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Hard to take this shot without looking creepy.

What a sight, from top to bottom.

— 3 —

After that, I went church-hunting.  I wanted to find the original St. Mark’s Catholic Church – one of the first Catholic churches built in Birmingham after the (now) Cathedral of St. Paul.  It was constructed for the Italian immigrants who peopled the area, immigrants who have long since moved to other sections of the city.  There is a new St. Mark’s now, built twenty miles south of this, in a well-off section of the county.

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It’s now a Protestant church of some type.

I’m really looking forward to a new exhibit at our Vulcan museum, one that starts this weekend, focusing on the Italian community.

vulcan italian exhibit

Unfortunately, we’re missing the St. George Melkite Catholic Middle Eastern Food Festival this weekend – maybe we’ll catch the Greek Festival the following weekend...and the Jewish Food Festival later in October or the Russian/Slavic Festival in November….

— 4 —

The week has proceeded as normal – school(s), music classes, science center class (no boxing this week), and an outing to Moss Rock Preserve, just about 20 minutes from our house when the traffic cooperates.

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— 5 —

It seems as if “Book Week” is turning into “Book Month” as I post about my books at this surprisingly glacial rate.  This week, I got to my books for teens and young adults – here. 

(Also earlier this week, in case you missed it, I wrote about my first solo trip to New York City, when I was 18.)

— 6 —

BBC podcasts?

Since In Our Time is still on its summer hiatus, I’ve had to fill the gap mostly with science documentaries and what other history I can find over there.  One series that has caught my interest has been Great Lives, in which the host is joined by one enthusiast who has chosen the “great life” to discuss, and then an academic expert on said great life.

I particularly enjoyed this episode – punk poet John Cooper Clarke on Salvador Dali, whom, he says, “entered my life as a Catholic mystic.”

There’s an audio excerpt of that section here  – less than 2 minutes.  And an interview with Clarke here. Amidst all the drug and punk culture talk, there’s this:

Clarke grew up a Catholic and still has faith. “People who believe in God are happier than those who don’t. I’ve never met a happy atheist.”

I was intrigued in a different way by this episode with the almost always irritating and pretentious Naomi Wolf on her pick, Edith Wharton.  What was interesting to me about the program, the picture of Wharton that had evolved was of a not-very likable person whose “revolutionary” sensibilities had nothing to do with women – she opposed suffrage and refused to fund scholarships for women particularly since doing so might risk funding an education for a Jewish woman)  in general but were really only about Edith Wharton.  The host raised the spectre of selfishness at the very end of the program, but Wolf did her best to wave it away…

— 7 —

All right.  Next week – my books with Ann Englehart, with special attention paid to Adventures in Assisi, of course!

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Some photos from one of the inspirations for the book – my own trip to Assisi with the boys two years ago…..sigh.

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Oh, and I did cook this week, but instead of talking about that, I”ll point you to this. It’s the most true thing I read on the Internet today.  Just don’t read it in a hotel room with children who are trying to go to sleep. 

“I don’t have any of these ingredients at home. Could you rewrite this based on the food I do have in my house? I’m not going to tell you what food I have. You have to guess.”

“I don’t eat white flour, so I tried making it with raw almonds that I’d activated by chewing them with my mouth open to receive direct sunlight, and it turned out terrible. This recipe is terrible.”

“Could you please give the metric weight measurements, and sometime in the next twenty minutes; I’m making this for a dinner party and my guests are already here.”

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— 1 —

Random things cooked this week, some old, some new:

Plentiful and cheap tomatoes mean that I do this a lot. 

The twist that I’ve added this year is to do the initial roasting in the evening and then leave the tomatoes in the oven overnight.

Like candy. 

I had “roasted tomatoes” as part of an antipasto in a fancy-shmancy restaurant in these parts a couple of weeks ago , and I tell you they had nothing on mine. They seriously just tasted like stewed tomatoes…out of a can, even.

Harrumph.

— 2 —

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Made Spanish Romesco sauce (or at least this version of it) the other day – a new thing for me, and really good.  I used roasted red peppers that I’d done myself.  I probably won’t do anything fancy with it – I’ll just use it as a spread/dip for myself.

— 3 —

Also…

The usual Artisan Bread in Five Minutes, which I make regularly now, and throw in a cinnamon cake.  Peaches and blueberries are coming in strong, so time to start in on them…..

And pizza. Always pizza.  It’s nine o’clock at night, and I think, “I really don’t want to make pizza dough right now…”

But then I do, dragging out the mixer and the flour, pulling it all together and then pulling it apart into six firm little discs of dough, and then the next day at noon I’m so glad I did because I can answer the question “What’s for lunch?” in a very exciting way.

— 4 —

To balance out the food, the past couple of week’s exercise podcasts have included some In Our Times that are worth mentioning not only because of their quality, but because they took religion seriously and without the usual American narrative voice which reflexively dismisses religious conviction and the spiritual dimension of human life.

One was on the 17th century scientist Robert Boyle, often regarded as one of the fathers of modern chemistry and, like most of his contemporaries, a very religious man.   It was interesting to me that Melvin Bragg kept pushing the question of the connection between Boyle’s faith and his scientific pursuit, which the panel generally affirmed, but not specifically enough for Bragg until one of them finally made the fascinating connection between Boyle’s interest in casuitry and self-examination and his scientific method.  Really interesting – and observations made by Michael Hunter on the connections between Boyle’s “practical religious life and practical scientific life,”  the author of a book called Boyle: Between God and Science.so that makes sense.

The program on the Bluestockings – a salon-type movement among British women – also took for granted these women’s religiosity – although I wish it had gone a bit more into it.

There’s another BBC4 show called The Food Programmewhich had a recent episode on “Holy Food” – it wasn’t the most thorough treatment of the very rich subject of the connection between monasteries and food and drink, but it was good for what it was.  One of the subjects interviewed was Madeleine Scherb, the author of a book called A Taste of Heaven and a blog called The Hungry Pilgrim. 

This week’s In Our Time is on Hildegard of Bingen – haven’t listened yet, but I’m trusting the tradition of decent treatment of religion will continue….

— 5 —

This week I read Penelope Lively’s Judgment Day which I picked up for ten cents at a library book sale.  It had its moments, but as a whole was too episodic and without much depth.  I’m continuing to read Collins’ No Name, which astonishes me because I read and read and read and the Kindle Ticker is telling me that I’ve still only made it through twenty percent of the thing.  It must be a thousand pages long.  But it’s a good, melodramatic, 19th century beach read, and although there’s no beach nearby right now, I’m enjoying it.

— 6 —

This is Rocky.

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Yes, me – the person who never had a pet as a child and has only allowed thirty years’ worth of children to own 1) some hamsters for a couple of months and 2) some fish for about the same amount of time – for some reason got all crazy and bought a snake at a reptile show.

A snake. 

My youngest is reptile-mad, we were at a reptile show, and so the next day we went back and bought Rocky. We won’t be traveling as much as we have been over the next year, and besides, snakes can go a week (they say) by themselves…

He’s fine.

I’d say he even has sort of a nice face, don’t you think?

I have no problem with snakes and I’m surprised to say that so far, he seems low-maintenance.

It’s kind of crazy, though. When you see snakes in the wild, the pattern is for both you and the snake to scoot, both as fast as you can.  These ball pythons are relaxed creatures.  They loll around, they curl and climb, but never too fast, and yes, we may be crazy but it does seem that Rocky has a special affection for his keeper.  Well, not affection.  But a comfort level that’s readily apparent.

It’s ironic, though, that his brother and I read this Ambrose Bierce story, “The Man and the Snake,” earlier this year.  I admit I think about it sometimes when Rocky’s snaking around….

(Was the photo a “trigger” for anyone?  Sorry.  I worked for a principal once who had such a morbid fear of spiders and snakes she had to clip together pages of books that had pictures of either so she wouldn’t accidentally open up to them. She was a science teacher, so this was a bit of a challenge for her.)

(The name “Rocky” happened because they saw the movie just a couple of days before the snake came into our house, and it just seemed right.)

— 7 —

Rectify continues to absorb.  As with a novel, it’s hard to pass judgment this soon – being only two chapters in.  But what I’m seeing so far is the continued weaving of complex themes of culpability, honesty and consequences as well as that intriguing and fairly accurate depiction of an individual’s spiritual life – in this case, Daniel’s sister-in-law, Tawney.  In one stressful, but well-done and sensitive scene she confesses and works through her confusion about  spiritual and emotional motivations.  Another scene depicts a women’s small group – meeting outdoors around a fire pit – I do wonder about Georgia evangelicals breaking open the wine during small group, but I’ll just assume that they’re part of a church where the pastor sports jeans, hipster glasses and a soul patch and we’re good.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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— 1 —

This is gonna be random, people.  Fair warning.

— 2 —

Michael (just 9, as you noted last week) has taken to piano with an intensity that I’ve hardly seen in any of my other four children.   He maintains that he still wants to be a herpetologist when he grows up, but those snakes better enjoy music because…

Anyway, this is one more area in which the Internet is amazing.  The child can say, “I would like to learn to Carol of the Bells” and mom can go online, find an Easy Piano version, pay a couple of dollars, download and print.  And three days later, he’s got it down.  Then the child can say, two months after seeing the movie, “There was this music in Beetlejuice that I liked, and I wonder if I could play it.”  So we go to YouTube, find someone performing it, he nods – that’s it  – I find an easy version, download and print, and he’s off.

— 3 —

Speaking of movies, we watched the original Planet of the Apes the other night.  First of all…it’s a little racier than I remembered.  As in, happy nude astronauts jumping in water and some sly camerawork here and there.  Secondly, the ham-handed RELIGION VS. SCIENCE AND TRUE REAL KNOWLEDGE theme is fairly lame.  Third, I found the first section of the film – before they’re captured – really interesting and almost breathtaking.  Charlton Heston and his teeth grate on my nerves, but the landscape (filmed on location in AZ and CA) and the pace are something you just don’t see much of today, with our fancy CGI. But fourth, oh, this was funny, and shows the joys of being unspoiled.

Michael was watching.  We get to the part where the astronauts come upon the feral humans in the corn field.  He says, “Wait, I though this was Planet of the APES?”  He’s a little confused, thinking this was going to be the extent of encounter and conflict.  I say nothing. And then the apes ride in on their steeds.  He sits straight up, mouth agape, and says, ‘ What the HECK?”

— 4 —

I’ve done a heap of cooking this week, what with my daughter home and Thanksgiving and all, and while much of it came out fine, I’m not thrilled will all of it.   I’ve done the artisan bread in five minutes thing a couple of times since this post, and it’s true that it really does best after the first day.   It’s a keeper.  The pizza dough that I made using this recipe is really great. Again – the key is waiting at least a day.  My pie crust was weird.   It looked pretty,but the edge was bizarrely hard.  Like someone had lined the pan with cement.  Jambalaya was good. This was great. I mean, I think I could live on Latin American stews and be super happy.  Cranberry-orange pound cake was good, albeit a bit dry.

— 5 —

Nothing like going out of your way to go to what you think will be a great exhibit expanding your children’s understanding of a subject in which they’re interested in interesting ways and it turns out to be a bunch of signs, nothing more.  Not a single artifact in sight.  I won’t name names, but I’m just saying.  Are you going to exhibit?  Then exhibit. 

 

— 6 —

Bambinelli Sunday seems to be doing well – all ye Catholic booksellers out ,there, put it out next to the nativity sets! All ye pastoral ministers – have a Bambinelli Sunday of your own!  Some parishes are – like here and here. 

(Link to the event to be held in Rome)

— 7 —

The Bookmark that Ann & I did with Doug Keck up at CMN will begin airing this week.  I’ll be doing the Franciscan Media event on Thursday.  If you’re in Charleston, come see me on Saturday.  And next week, I’ll be on Jim and Joy Pinto’s show again. 

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For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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Well, I was going to go crazy and scan all sorts of pages from this for your benefit and enjoyment, but then I discovered...it’s still in print!  Which is a good thing, because it’s a treasure, but it also means it’s copyrighted, so I can’t scan with abandon.

(Update:   See update below before you order…it’s apparently not the exact same)

This was one of my mother’s many cookbooks.  I don’t think she ever used it, but it was there, stuffed on the shelf between various very mod 60’s volumes about chafing dishes, fondue pots and gelatin molds and such.   It was published by the National Catholic Rural Life Conference in 1945, and while it doesn’t feature those great  woodcuts of which I’m such a fan in earlyish and mid-century Catholic lit,  it’s an invaluable glimpse into the era, as the first sentence of the Preface indicates:

This book is an extension of the Missal, Breviary and Ritual because the Christian home is an extension of the Mass, choir and sacramentals. 

That era being clearly resistant  to stereotype and caricatures of an unengaged laity.  As the author herself says in the very next paragraph, We need not shed tears over the past; neither should we exalt the present as the zenith of perfection or condemn it as the nadir of depravity. 

Anyway – the first Lent page is below.  The text is substantial, the recipes – for the most part – still interesting.  On the page that follows this one, the difference between now and then is unmistakable as the author encourages the consumption of whole wheat bread during Lent despite the relatively high cost and difficulty finding it!

"amy welborn"

There may be a health food store in a town of 1000,000 which bakes a whole grain loaf at 23 cents, but that is not for the majority nor for the poor….

(She recommends, of course, baking it yourself – after you find a miller who can grind the flour for you!)

"amy welborn"

I’m assuming the new edition is identical to the original – the reviews on the site indicate as much – but no promises, of course, since I’ve not seen it.

So ends the year with Christ in the kitchen.  What we have cooked we have made for His glory and the spread of His kingdom.  This way of living is but one path which leads our minds and hearts to His love.  We have not “feasted sumptuously every day,” but we have held both fast and festival in due season.  When great occasions arise, as they do so often in the liturgical year, “it is fit to bring hither the fatted calf and kill it and eat and make merry.” For Christianity is a happiness untold, not only to be tasted at the eternal banquet, but also in some small measure at our little festivals in time.  So with Christ at our table may He bless us and say:

“Eat thy bread with joy and

Drink thy wine with gladness,

Because thy works please God.” 

Update:

Apparently the reprint is not…a reprint.  From the comments, Jennifer of the blog “Family Food for Feast and Feria”

This is my favorite cookbook of all time! It’s also my favorite liturgical year book. I based my whole history undergrad thesis on this book and the publisher, NCRLC. I’ve written about this book several times,http://familyfoodfeastandferia.wordpress.com/2006/04/19/my-favorite-cookbook/, this being my sadly neglected food blog.

This book stemmed from the Liturgical Movement, and was the first American Catholic cookbook of its kind. All other liturgical cookbooks that follow never reach the heights of this book. It’s so family oriented, and helps connect the American to her rich Catholic culture. But Florence Berger makes you realize this isn’t a dead culture, not looking back in the past, but it’s a living connection, because we are part of the Mystical Body.

Sadly, the book that is currently being reprinted is not the original. All the recipes are revised, and if that isn’t good enough, the text is edited, chopped up, and lovely bits and pieces are removed. You will get some taste of the beautiful book, but not the fullness of the original. I can’t understand how they can label it a reprint if it’s fully revised. I’ve compared the original with the revised and just cried to see how much was changed.

While this book does not treat only Florence Berger’s books, “Cultivating Soil and Soul: Twentieth-century Catholic Agrarians Embrace the Liturgical Movement” by Michael J. Woods gives some background history “Cooking for Christ” that I find so interesting! The entire book is wonderful as it really gives an understanding of the Liturgical movement and the connections and role of the NCRLC.

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