X is for Xavier Suppe

X was a challenge for me the last time I was blogging my way through the alphabet and this time was no exception. I had originally thought xanthum gum, which is normally thought of as a gluten free additive which can be used as a thickener. However, it was not resonating with my spirit and since that is what this blog is all about, it was just not going to happen. Then, in my research on X foods, I stumbled upon Xavier Suppe, which is Italian for Xavier Soup. It is a traditional Italian recipe, normally made in December for the Feast of Saint Xavier. It is a classic chicken and vegetable soup with flour and baked Parmesan cheese dumplings served garnished with parsley and chervil. Perhaps that is why it resonated with my spirit; it looks like and reminds me of my mother’s chicken soup with matzo balls, Italian style.

Learning about this soup, made me want to know something about the person it was named after Frances Xavier was a Roman Catholic missionary and one of the founding members of the Society of Jesus, more commonly referred to as Jesuits. 

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The Next Big Thing

This week my blog is slightly different then usual. L T Bentley invited me to be part of this blog hopping journey called The Next Big Thing. I think the purpose is to help us discover the next great book that we absolute have to read or an author whose works might just resonate with our spirits. I had never heard of her work before, but given that I am a Gemini, I am looking forward to reading something outside of the norm for me, her book Shattered Gemini, is a psychological murder mystery. Who knows her work might be the Next Big Thing, or perhaps mine is. Who knows? I have never written fiction that is unless you think about my life as a piece of fiction, which is a work in process. In my life story, then I am the main character and everyone else in my life are the supporting cast of characters.
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This must be why I crave pasta

Recently, someone told me they were surprised that I had a sense of humor. Hmm. I guess they have not been around me very much. There are times in my life I am quite serious and intellectual. Then there are times in my life I am just “downright stupid.” There have been those days when I wake up singing a children’s song like If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands or I love pumpernickel, pumpernickel bread. Those years of listening to Barney songs are embedded deep in my memory. When I laugh, I feel myself open up and it allows me a moment to get out of my head and to get creative. Some of my most inspirational moments have happened when I just did not care or when I was not concerned about getting it right. Tonight was one of them. I had been having this kind of mental block and not feeling especially creative. The only thing I was craving was pasta. Hmm, perhaps that was in part because Tuesday was National Pasta Day.
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Spirituality and Pasta Sauce

Many people I know had a food they did not like as children. However, over time their appreciation for, and experience of, that food changed over time. For me, this was especially true of pasta sauces. As a child, my favorite pasta preparations were boxed macaroni and cheese and Spaghettio’s. The latter being my favorite primarily because of the sauce. It tasted so much better then my mom’s sauce. She made hers by mixing catsup, cream cheese, and oregano together. I was in my teens when I first experienced I home made pasta sauce which exceeded my expectations and changed my relationship with pasta and with Spaghettio’s, which no longer were acceptable to my palette.
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Not Exactly a World Traveler.

So many of the chefs I have watched on television or read about in their cookbooks have spent a good part of their lives traveling around the world. My niece has just finished spending several months studying in Italy and after a brief reunion with my brother and her siblings will be traveling back to Switzerland. She has had an opportunity to travel to various regions and tasted some amazing food. She has been exposed to sauces, soups, spices, and ingredients I probably have never heard of.
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A New Reverence for Dates

When I was in seminary, which now seems a lifetime ago, in one of my preaching classes we were assigned to take a scripture which involved violence against women and develop a sermon on it in a way which was honest, but empowering. The result was a sermon I wrote called Take Back the Night, which was what I envisioned Tamar would have said if Tamar had been invited to speak at a Take Back the Night March. One of the things I learned while I was researching this scripture was about the name Tamar. Tamar means date palm. In biblical times, people’s names were a prophesy about their lives. Date palm might not seem like much of a prophesy, but it is. You see the date palm is said to be the oldest cultivated tree. For the people of her area, the date palm held particular symbolic significance.
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No more cardboard!

Well we are now week 4 in Zoë’s chemotherapy treatments and the two major symptoms she has experienced are fatigue and loss of taste. It seems like just about everything tastes like cardboard. Her go to breakfast, bagels, and cream cheese, tasted like cardboard. My vegetarian lasagna tasted like cardboard. The ginger ale that I made from scratch just tasted like bubbles. The few things that tasted good to her were ice cream and corn tortillas. Not the most nutritious of dishes. Nothing but the ice cream was sweet enough. Everything but the corn tortillas tasted like cardboard. The reality is that none of us wants to eat cardboard. It has been frustrating trying to find things for her to eat that did not taste like cardboard. So how do you transform things from cardboard to tasty when you have no taste buds? Easy. Salt. You put salt on everything. Bagels and cream cheese – no problem.
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