Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Little of This, A Little of That . . .

I know St. Patrick's Day is over, but I noticed this morning that the grass is greening up so nicely that today feels like a celebration of “the wearing of the green.”
Speaking of St. Patrick, my friend Megan posted about St. Patrick's Day -- you can read it here. It's a funny thing about corned beef and cabbage -- my friend Jane and her husband made it for one of our church Lenten soup suppers last year, but she wasn't happy with how it turned out; the rest of us thought it was delicious! I like what Megan writes about why St. Patrick deserves our attention, though.


There was an interesting juxtaposition on The Today Show this morning.
One story concerned the new First Family and the emphasis they put on manners for their daughters. Evidently the Obama family works at teaching their girls to be well-mannered. They believe those standards are important, because good manners make life more pleasant and ease social situations as well as family life.
The other story was a brief news clip about the Pope's trip to Africa and his comments about condoms. It was reported that his statements about how condoms make the AIDS problem worse would render the Church even more irrelevant.
I thought his comments about condoms simply pointed toward how the standards of the Church -- abstinence outside of marriage; fidelity within marriage -- might help make the AIDS epidemic less virulent. Those standards are helpful in minimizing the effects of sexually transmitted diseases as well as the transmission of the AIDS virus.
Both of these are worthwhile and helpful goals, so why is one set of standards -- good manners -- to be applauded and adopted, while the other set of standards -- responsible, faithful sexual behavior -- are counted as “irrelevant” and foolish?


BH is excited about grilling out this evening. That means a trip to the store for the season's first charcoal and something for the grill. And that means less cooking in the kitchen for me.
Which reminds me of the commercial I saw yesterday on television. A young couple has discovered a whole meal that can be “steamed” in the microwave in its own bag. There aren't even any pans to clean up, and they can enjoy a “home-cooked” meal!
Whatever happened to actually cooking? It's usually cheaper, more nutritious, good stewardship of resources, and even fun.
I like quick and easy, and if you check out our freezer you'll find a few Lean Cuisine and Bertolli dinners we can make in a pinch.
But it seems as if we lose something when we always go for quick and easy. There is a lot of pleasure to be had in making a meal the old-fashioned way, by starting from scratch and enjoying the textures, smells, and tastes of food. When we are cooking or baking, our kitchens become a welcome-home station for our families, a place of service that speaks our love for them.
It's nice to have the choice, of course; I just don't want to pass up the opportunity to spend more of myself actually cooking instead of just opening up one more plastic-bag supper.

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