Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Chemist's cookery

Why don't I put recipes on here more often?

When my mom was here I was throwing everything into the pot. "This is measuring, see. If I do it slowly and pay attention while I pour stuff, it's 'measuring,' even if I don't know exactly how much there is, right?"

Matt, behind me, shakes his head. "I thought you were a chemist!"

Kylie says, "That is how chemists cook!"

Yes, listen to Dr. Barker. I am vindicated!

Luckily, my mom wanted a recipe I made, so I wrote down something rather similar to what I made before I forgot it all:

Favorite Vegetable Soup:

3 onions
2 Tbsp olive oil
1.5 Tbsp minced garlic (I used the stuff from the jar)
3 carrots
3 stalks celery
1 c red lentils, washed
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp dill
1/4 tsp rosemary
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
salt (1-2 Tbsp?) and pepper (to taste)
1/2-1 c light cream
feta crumbles (optional; can substitute plain yogurt)

Chop onions, carrots, celery into medium-sized pieces. Saute onions in garlic and olive oil until translucent. Add lentils and stir into hot oil for about 1 minute; add carrots and celery and stir. Pour in tomatoes and 7 cups water. Bring to a boil while adding spices. Boil for about 45 minutes. Blend to desired smoothness and still in cream. Garnish with feta crumbles. Makes a very hearty meal soup.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The scholastic doctrine of the revival of sacraments has me picturing the Holy Spirit as crouched outside, ready to spring into our hearts as soon as we leave the door ajar.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Anecdotes of parenting

I asked Thomas the other day what he wanted to do when he grew up.

"Cook! I'm-a cook soup like mama."

Seems pretty safe. I wonder if he wants to do laundry too?


I had to take Juliana to Thomas's daycare for the first time on Monday when I picked him up. His face lit up. "Baby sister is here!"

All the little kids lined up on their knees in nice neat rows to peer into her carseat. "Don't touch the baby," his teachers warned.

"I get to touch her," Thomas objected, looking at me.

"Yes, you do," I agreed, "because she's your sister. But your friends are just going to look."

Julie loved looking at all the kids faces, one by one.

"She looks just like Thomas!" one of the older girls said.

"She looks like me," one of the boys said. (This is the same boy that calls me "mom" and Matt "dad". We have no idea whether he does this with everyone's parents.)


On the way home from school today, "Message in a Bottle" came on the radio.

"This sounds like Rock Band!" Thomas yelled.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


One of the things I love about the great liturgical feasts is that they are the one time, as western Catholics, that we allow ourselves to screw it up.

I don't mean, of course, that the liturgies aren't beautiful -- nor that we should stop trying to make them beautiful. But the Triduum is one time that we are all doing things we're not accustomed to doing, and so we tend to do them like we would do them at home. We bump the chairs. We spill things. The altar servers aren't sure who's supposed to go get the candle or where it should be. By the end of the Vigil homily, even the priests are tired.

Thomas came with us to the Holy Thursday mass, and wanted to see the footwashing. We told him we could go home anytime, since it started at bedtime, but he'd been asking for the "When Jesus walked on earth and we could see him" (my "New Testament story" opener) stories all week and the foot washing was his favorite. He cruised through the bilingual liturgy of the word (not so good at the Vigil, but who can blame him there?) and, as soon as the guys started bringing the chairs, was riveted, too fascinated to even answer my "Do you like it?"

They bumped the chairs out onto the dais and had to mess around a little to get them all lined up properly. Then the people came out and fiddled their shoes and socks off. Our priest came out with his basin and the server brought the ewer. The deacon handed each person a towel. The water ran out about half way through the line and the server went to bring a new basin and ewer, then staggered under the full one until the seminarian hurried over to take it out of his hands. Father Paul continued to progress down the line and Thomas continued to hang his chin just over the edge of the frontmost pew on his tiptoes. People began to pull their shoes and socks on, and eventually Father Paul stood up and the parishioners went back to their pews. The ushers came forward to take the chairs away, and suddenly Thomas began to protest.

"Lots of people left! He needs to do ALL the people!"

Whispering wasn't correcting this misapprehension, and Thomas was exhausted, so I offered to take him home and explain what was going on. I had a burst of inspiration.

"Thomas, all the people need their feet washed, but Father Paul is done. Now it's your turn." Gee, aren't I cute, I think. A two-year-old's homily. But I had more effect than I expected.

When we got home, "Daddy! Daddy! I wanna wash your feet!" Matt, who was home with Juliana, blinked at us. "I wanna wash your feet!"

Thomas runs out of the room with a water bottle, filling it at the sink before running back to the kitchen. He reemerged dragging a dining chair -- boy, he really was paying attention! -- and had to be persuaded that the chair Matt was already sitting in would work fine.

He came in with his water bottle and his little dishpan and started to wash Matt's feet. Too bad he only put cold water in the bottle. Very cold water.

Sometimes the rituals are better if we allow ourselves to do them a little bit wrong. After all, this is the season when God broke into the world, through a great gash of wrong, to save it.

Monday, April 06, 2009

I didn't get one!

Yesterday a day came that I've been dreading for at least three years.

It started out so well: we went to Palm Sunday mass, and Thomas was paying very good attention (for a two-year-old, that is). We talked about the entry to Jerusalem ahead of time, and although he was disappointed to hear that there wouldn't be any donkeys at church, he was interested in the palm leaves. He paid good attention through the procession and even followed along with a good bit of the Passion reading. (I was pointing the pictures out in his picture Bible and whispering the important words.) Despite the length of the Palm Sunday mass, and the fact that it started right before naptime, by the communion rite he was still gamely hanging in there, sitting in the aisle so he could see what the priest was doing and murmuring to himself.

When it was time for communion I showed him how to hold his arms across his chest, and we went forward. By the time we got back to the pew, he was in tears.

"Why didn't he give me one? Why didn't he give me one? I didn't get one!"

This is the one question about the liturgy my time at Notre Dame hasn't prepared me to answer. I'm just left here in my own pain, saying, "Why doesn't he get one?" And I fear that by the time five more years have passed, he'll be left with an indelible impression of his exclusion from the Lord's meal.

The eucharistic celebration shouldn't leave a bad taste in anyone's mouth.