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Friday, April 18, 2003

Loaves and Cheeses

Last night was Maundy Thursday and I went into work and left a little early so I could hop on BART and get to Grace in time. Journey proceeded smoothly as a cable car was waiting for me at Embarcadero for the trip up California Street.

Actually this year I was organized enough to bring something for the Agape supper and arrived early enough to deliver it. (Fruit and nuts - brought raisins, dried cherries, tangelos, apples, and toasted walnuts.) Once I had distributed my dried fruit among the tables and dropped off the other items, I ended up going back into the kitchen and making myself useful as plates of bread, cheese, and fruit were assembled. It really was quite amazing to see how shortages turned into abundance with the arrival of new items, up to the 6 pm published start time. We were running out of fruit and someone came in with bowls of melon chunks and a big bunch of grapes. And then someone brought in a half flat of strawberries, which I rinsed off and distributed around the table (all the fruit plates were out). The purple grapes and the red strawberries made the mostly-apple-orange-and-banana plates look colorful and abundant. O taste and see! The cheese shortage (six tables with no cheese plates) was solved when a large block of cheddar and jack arrived. This involved a lot of last minute scurrying around from the kitchen helpers (and a LOT of handwashing) but it was fun and I felt that I had definitely done something Helpful and Productive.

Although the cathedral kitchen knives did not seem to be up to snuff (I did not personally use them but I heard from those who were). Next year I'll bring my knives in a roll and get cutting.

The parish pour was Charles Shaw, known affectionately locally as "Two Buck Chuck" since Trader Joe's sells it for the whopping sum of $2/bottle ($3 outside California but we aren't). It was better than I remember it so I will have to get some the next time I am at TJ's. For house wine it ain't bad, for even twice the price. This occasioned a bit of "wine gossip" at the table. Someone said that the rumor was that Shaw was selling so cheap since he was going through a divorce and either 1) needed cash fast (TJ pays cash) or 2) wanted to liquidate his assets. One of the priests at the table said one of her seminary friends is at the church in St. Helena and everyone knows there to go for the unmarked bottles brought to any parish functions. One person is an attorney and said that one of the Mondavis was a frequent client of the divorce side of the house. One person mentioned box wine and I had to say that my brother the oenophile thought it quite passable for backpacking trips. The conversation made a light meal very pleasant.

I got home about 9.30 pm and cooked up the steak in my fridge (the better to avoid the question of do I eat it on Good Friday) and had a couple of slices on a piece of toast to round out the meal. Will probably have more on Saturday and next week.

"Yesterday was Maundy Thursday" means "Today is Good Friday". My plan at the moment is to make the hummus and "middle eastern salsa cruda" a la Ranee the Saudi Chef and hope the dolma and pita I purchased are still good so that I can have a meal in solidarity with my middle eastern brothers and sisters on this significant day. (It's Passover as well.) I'm also hoping for hot cross buns at the Cheese Board tomorrow morning. If not, I can get them at Fatapple's bakery.

Now, off to the kitchen to whirl beans into hummus...



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