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Sunday, March 27, 2005

Compelled to Feast

The title is from a sermon that my rector preached some Easters back that has made its way into the church lore. I arrived after the time but have certainly been told about it by a number of people. And when she set up the line in today's Easter sermon, you could tell who the "regulars" were, because they completed it.

We like food, and we have given up our normally glorious coffee hours for Lent, and it is now Easter. Not one blow-out feast, but two; a breakfast after the Easter Vigil service (which let out shortly before 8 am) and a festive coffee hour after the main service, with extra laid on for both Easter and a large expected number of visitors.

I was working Altar Guild (washing out the communion ware) so I was the last person to partake of both of these. I am happy to report that there was food left for me (indeed, I scored some pineapple upside down cake, and a large quantity of peppermint bark). I had coffee, Martinelli's, a strata with asparagus, and ham for my breakfast - it was the only food that hadn't moved downstairs to the other kitchen - and felt I had breakfasted well.

I made two loaves of banana bread and six dozen (one recipe) peanut butter cup cookies and all that was left at close to 1 pm of my stuff when I moseyed over to the social hall was one thin slice of the bread. Which I ate, because the QC slice I'd had at 4:20 am had been good.

My Easter feasting started on traditonal fast days, because my young cousin got herself married on ... Good Friday. I had a nice festive lunch with my aunt, uncle, and parents that day, and a tasty dinner at the reception. (I had my dancin' shoes on, too.)

The feasting continued on Saturday. My folks gave me some Dove chocolate eggs for Easter (*grin*), and my other aunt had a round-number birthday and her kids invited us for brunch at a restaurant in the motel most of La Familia was staying at. It was pretty tasty - even (as my dad noted) the coffee was good.

I shopped farm stands (including Ikeda's of Apple Hill, now in Davis) on the way home. I have a razzleberry (raspberry and marionberry) pie to bake up. I thought of my berry-loving grandmother (great grandmother of the bride) when I got it.

So, I have had a lot of good food recently, and have some great stuff in the fridge. I may have to scramble for lunch tomorrow, as I am too exhausted to cook some soup for my lunch, but Easter has arrived.

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".