Originally, when I started to blog, I planned to feature a recipe every Monday. It was a means of margin in the blog, a sort of free pass for Mondays, which typically tend to be overwhelmed by laundry and lists. And I'm not usually great about margin. I think I've told you about my penchant for over-planning and over-estimating my time and energy. (Um, yes, I'm sure I've told you because I'm recalling a friend who recently came over for dinner and brought me some seed packets. When her daughter handed them to me, I looked at her quizzically, and she was nudged by her mom. "Tell Jen we've been reading her blog."" So back to Monday's Menu: this feature began so that Monday morning, when I was lean on time, I could post something quickly without too much thought. In recent weeks, I haven't really kept the feature up. Maybe I felt sheepish about my blogging sleight of hand. (I hate feeling gimmicky here.) And maybe I just realized that most of you aren't reading my blog to find fabulous recipes.
But over this recent Easter week, as I've been meditating on the Scriptures and posting prayers here, I have seen over and over again how much emphasis there is in Scripture on the meal. Our pastors are preaching through the book of Luke, and several weeks ago, one made the observation that in the Gospel of Luke, there are 19 feasts, 13 of which are exclusive to Luke. In the book of Luke, as the events are detailed of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, there are three meals referenced: the Passover meal, which Jesus shares with His disciples before He is betrayed; the meal shared by the disciples and the resurrected Jesus in the village Emmaus; in another meal with more disciples, where to prove he is a resurrected man and no mere ghost, Jesus asks for something to eat and is served broiled fish. The Scriptures actually tell us that "Jesus was known to them in the breaking of the bread," (Luke 24:35).
So maybe a menu feature on Monday's isn't gimmicky. Maybe it's not laziness on my part. Maybe it's a weekly reminder to hold sacred the meals we share with our family and friends. Maybe it's my not so subtle campaign for slow food and slow church in a culture where we think we can microwave everything, including faith. And for me, I'm in constant need of the reminder that all my kitchen duties are worthwhile. I spend hours shopping for food, preparing food, clearing and cleaning dishes, and it is all too easy to do that work, believing it to be an interruption to the real work of ministry I'd like to be doing. When I give into that lie, I quickly detour into habits of quiet resentment ("Here I am stuck in this kitchen while everyone else is having fun!").
This Easter weekend was all about food and feasting. We hosted four families here yesterday in our not-so-big house: 8 adults, 13 children. And while there were moments of quiet stress (no explosive anger, thank God!), generally it was an occasion of real togetherness and community. Saturday, I did the food and flower shopping with my beautiful daughters while my husband and son tended to other errand-running and yard work. That night, Audrey and I made homemade rolls together when the other kids were finally tucked into bed. I won't lie: it was a lot of work! But my prayers are always that when people enter our home and sit at our table, they would know the presence of Jesus.
More regularly than I've done recently, I'll be back here on Mondays, giving you recipes or tips for having people into your home for a meal. And to tip off this week, here's a great marinade for summer grilling. It works for either chicken or steak, and I need to thank my friend, Lynne Kern, who is the source of the original recipe. Thanks, Lynne!
- Vegetable oil – enough to cover the bottom to a large Rubbermaid pan or large Ziploc bag
- Soy Sauce – 1/2 to 1 bottle ( I use low sodium)
- Vinegar – 1- 2 tablespoons
- Syrup – 1 – 2 tablespoons
- Ketchup – enough to thicken
- Garlic Powder – lots!