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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Happy Blogiversary to Me!

It's the (symbolic) two-year blogiversary for Love and Cooking. I started it on Maundy Thursday 2003, after an experience helping feed the multitudes at Grace Cathedral. The moveable nature of the date of Easter means that the actual first post was in mid-April (Easter really is early this year), but I've got the church calendar burned in my brain, so it's much easier for me to remember the anniversary that way.

Maundy Thursday is itself a food-related holy day, as it commemorates the last supper that Jesus had with his disciples which was ... drum roll ... a Passover seder. (Those of you who are reading and are entertaining the notion that the Christians "liberated" a pagan holiday for Easter can stop thinking that Right. About. Now.) It was the basis for the celebration of Holy Communion; even my first churches, which had communion two or three times a year (little grape juice thimbles and all), always had it on Maundy Thursday. To those of us who get Holy Communion offered weekly (daily in some places!), it is the proto-Eucharist. And we commemorate the Passover angle every time as part of the liturgy:

Leader: Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.
People: Therefore let us keep the feast.

I do wish I had snagged "Moveable Feast" then, as it has become more and more "me" as time has developed; have knife roll, will travel, and no matter where I go, there I am. (Indeed, shortly before I started it, I had gone to a rec.food.cooking event in the Puget Sound area where I had packed three kinds of cookies and three kinds of truffles in my carry-on baggage, and spent a good chunk of the rest of the weekend cooking for a friend of mine who had recently undergone surgery.) The title "Love and Cooking" is from the Dalai Lama's instructions for life; the original line is "Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon". In significant ways, I don't fit with this at all; I'm in a lot of ways my practical, methodical self.

But as I was noodling about this recently, the fabulous Deb was kind enough to say the following:

As for your blog, I think moveable feast is a good name but L&C is a better one, at least that's what is quite apparant to me when reading your blog, there is a lot of love that goes into your cooking and your love of cooking is about sharing that love.

So thank you, Deb, for helping me connect the dots here; maybe it's not "reckless abandon", but "a spirit of generosity" is still pretty darn good. And I do strive for that. O taste and see! (Which was another possibility for name that I Wish I'd Thought Of.) I also know that it is a talent of mine, and a useful one, so I will keep on choppin' and stirrin'.

I haven't updated this blog in a little while (thank you Biggles for noticing), but I have been having numerous food-related adventures, which (combined with the Evul Work Schedule) has cut into my blogging time lately. Deb sent me some fabulous chocolates from Vosges. Biggles got his mug plasted all over the Chronicle food section (and it was better than when I made the Merky Snooze food section almost seven years back, as I was not credited). I got given a huge bag of Meyer lemons and I am racing against time trying to turn them into lemon curd, lemon marmalade, and other lemony delights (thanks to Marsha at Hot Water Bath for the idea of spiced lemons and some tips). And I am continuing to receive an education in how to provide dinner and sack lunches for 120 people on minimal financial resources. I hope to do some "catch-up" posts for some of that.

Besides being my blogiversary, I do think of Maundy Thursday in the sense of Passover; it's been a time for some profound insights on my part. A fair amount of the last year does seem to be developing on the food theme; not only had I got back in the saddle of feeding myself, and taking the whole blog thing more seriously (digicam arrived in June), I switched congregations and landed in one that takes the food-as-hospitality thing very seriously. (Best coffee hour in town, except during Lent.)

This is my first year with this congregation as a regular member, and while in some ways I will miss the potluck supper we had at the Cathedral, I do eat with them a lot (at church and occasionally outside of it). So I get that all year round. I have been stretched to use my skills in new ways.

As I show up more for stuff, I also occasionally hear things that strike me in a food related way; this past Saturday (which is why I wasn't at the market, Biggles) in a class we did a "lectio divina" exercise on a passage in the Gospels about Jesus appearing to the disciples after His resurrection and getting them out of their dumbfounded state by asking, "Do you have something to eat?". This made me think how important food is to all of us; both on the dinner/coffee hour sort of level, but it also worked to make me realize that my new work with the church's Altar Guild (for those of you not familiar with it, they are the people who set up and clean the communion vessels; I would say "nice ladies who ..." but half of ours is male) is not just scut-work, the women at the sink washing up; it's a new level of "people are hungry and thirsty and I want to help feed them".

Actually, while the concept of easter as it is celebrated in the christian church may be jewish in origin, the fact is that the greater majority of the symbols associated with it today are actually pagan in origin, and the timing does correspond with a variety of older holidays of pagan origin. Easter eggs and bunnies were fertility symbols used in hopes of a good harvest, and while some people may have other explainations as to their association with easter, the timing of several pagan pre-planting holidays is the real reason. Also, I am not sure why you seem to interpret these sugestions of pagan origin as problematic. I am Pagan, and I don't really mind that the christians "borrowed" alot of holidays from my calendar. It just means we al have a chance, should we be open-minded enough to take it, to celebrate together, and to focus on our similarities instead of our differences. It seems to me that that is the sort of thing the bible has been trying to tell you to do all along, don't you think? (you know, love thy neighbor as thyself, etc.)
Blessed Be!
I don't have a problem with the suggestion of pagan origin on the holidays that I have reason to believe were lifted. However, the Easter-Passover connection makes any pagan connections definitely a second-remove at best thing.

The bunnies thing isn't central to my Easter. Eggs are both pre-Christian as a fertility symbol (duh) and have Christian symbolism; Mary Magdalene used an egg to explain the Resurrection, which turned red in her hand. Thus the red eggs baked in traditional Easter breads.

I think some people are too eager to claim it's a pagan lift. Mind you, the name we use in English is. A lot of other languages use a form of "Paschal" (Passover), which is, shall we say, more accurate.
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