The gumbo mentality

29 November 2010

I’ve been talking a lot about cooking here lately, haven’t I?  I don’t know if it’s the season, or reminiscing about my mom (an excellent cook, says my biased opinion), or it’s just a subject I haven’t worn out yet.  But I do spend a good deal of time each week cooking, and I do enjoy it, so hey, let’s roll with it.

Today, for instance, I spent several hours working on what I call “false gumbo.”  Now I must emphasize the word “false” — this is not something that a native of the Louisiana bayous would consider anything but a malicious Yankee misrepresentation of the dish.  Generic smoked sausage in place of andouille, no crawfish, no okra, no Cayenne pepper … I’m pretty sure that Father Martins, my old Anglican rector (who went to Tulane University in New Orleans), would be appalled by it.  But I like it, and it’s not so spicy that my family won’t eat it.  So there’s that.

As it was simmering, I started thinking about the whole mindset behind gumbo.

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Periodic Pingback: Louis C.K. on how thankful we SHOULD be

26 November 2010

(Blogger’s note: from time to time, I run into something on the Interwebtenternet that’s too good to not share — but I don’t want to clutter up my freinds’ e-mail inboxes with more forwards.  So I put it here.  I call it Periodic Pingback, and I hope you enjoy it.)

Let’s face it — we are very fortunate to live in the time and place that we do.  Life in the developed world in the early 21st century is filled with so many blessings that our minds can get too boggled to be appropriately thankful.

Well, I know mine can.  In fact, so often the sheer tonnage of goodies can so blind me that I start griping when everything isn’t absolutely perfect.  Which is incredibly ridiculous, if you think about it.  F’rinstance, I have a pipeline into my house that brings me news, live sports, weather reports, full-length movies, games, and a library larger than any in existence a hundred years ago, all at the push of a few buttons.  (You’re reading this on it right now; it’s called the Internet.)  I’ve said to my wife, “how did we ever get anything done without the ‘Net?” at least three times in the last week.  And yet if my DSL modem is disrupted for a minute or two, I go out of my gourd.  How’s that for gratitude?

So to bring the perspective on just how good we have it these days, I invite you to watch this clip of comedian Louis C.K. from an old episode of “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” where he goes into several examples of how much better things are now than they used to be.  We may not live in a perfect world (far from it), but I’d tend to say this is the best era to live in that’s existed since Eden.  At least until the next one.  Thank you, God.


The first Thanksgiving

25 November 2010

(Blogger’s note: This is sort-of part two of a 2-part reminiscence — you can read part one here.)

It’s 8:45 p.m. as I sit down to type this.  My wife and kids are all in bed.  All the food is packed away.  The house still resonates with the smell of well-roasted turkey and store-bought pie.  I’m sitting her with a steel bottle full of water, wondering how much I’ve added to my waistline in the last twelve hours.

Thanksgiving is over.  And much to my (pleasant) surprise, it went rather smoothly.

Surprise?  Yes, surprise.  Because, for the first time in my life, it was me — not my mom and/or her mom — that was making the Thanksgiving feast.

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Tuna salad, and memories

24 November 2010

(Blogger’s note: my sincerest apologies for not having written for almost two weeks.  Apparently I have the weakest immune system in my family, because I’m now on day 11 of a cold that everyone else — including my son with the autoimmune disorder! — got over in three.  Very aggravating.  Well, I have my energy back, not to mention my breathing passages, so I’m back.  And I’m renewing my resolve to write something every day for you — the few, the proud, the readers of this blog.  You’re the best; I therefore owe you the best.  Now, if you’ll join me in the kitchen … for part one of a 2-part reminiscence.)

Yesterday, I did something I’ve only done twice in the past year, and which I enjoyed greatly — both the process and the results (especially the results).  I made a big ol’ bowl of tuna salad.

Seems a bit prosaic, you may be saying.  What’s the big deal about tuna salad — that add-on to green salads, fallback protein for the diet-conscious, staple of poor college students and lazy single males?  You got a special recipe for it or something, Anselmo?

Well, yes, I do — okay, I don’t know that it’s all that special, but I like it.  (In fact, I’ll include it at the end of this post, in case you’re interested.)  But more to the point, whipping it up brought back a lot of special memories.

Because the recipe was my mom’s recipe. Read the rest of this entry »


An interesting defense, from an unusual place

12 November 2010

They say on the Internet you can find almost anything.  I found something interesting today, so interesting that I felt compelled to write something about it.

Here’s the background: HarperCollins, one of the biiiig publishing houses, announced Monday that Denver Broncos backup quarterback and former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow was writing an “inspirational memoir” that they would be putting out next April.  And there’s apparently been a cascade of naysayers criticizing Tebow (not HarperCollins, though) for doing this.  The gist of their arguments (if you could call them that) seem to be:

  1. Tebow, at 23, is too young to be writing his life story — after all, how much life has he really lived?  He’s publicly admitted he hasn’t even lost his virginity yet — what makes him an expert on living?
  2. Tebow is a self-righteous do-goodnik who claims God told him to go the the University of Florida and — GASP! — has publicly admitted he hasn’t lost his virginity yet.  We don’t want him preaching to us!

In the midst of this tempest-in-a-teapot, an interesting — and to me, somewhat surprising — voice has spoken up in his defense.

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I know when Jesus is NOT coming back!

10 November 2010

Have you heard?  Have you heard?!?  JESUS IS RETURNING!

And he’s returning soon!  In just over six months!  Seriously — on May 21, 2011, Jesus is coming back!  (Hmmm, that’s a Saturday … well, I won’t bother mowing the lawn that day, huh?)

How do I know this?  Well, because against the teaching of Jesus Himself that “no man knows the day or the hour” (Acts 1:7), against the words of the Apostle Paul that Jesus “will come like a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2), against twenty centuries of church tradition that God will not reveal the time of His Son’s return before it happens, I have …

… one pamphlet from Family Radio that I found outside the county courthouse a few months ago.

Um … maybe I don’t really know that at all, do I?

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Sunday morning, coming down

7 November 2010

Sunday mornings have been kind of different for me and my family lately.

We’ve changed our location of worship, shall I say.  We’ve found somewhere the Scriptures are taught in much more depth than in most places we’ve been.  There’s a greater sense of the presence of God, and more recognition that He wants to speak to us.  And at the same time, there isn’t the sense of frantic busyness, of noise and fury and trying to force the Holy Spirit to show up, that we’ve so often seen.  My daughter Charlotte, I know, has found it a real chance to grow, and is getting a lot more chance to interact and contribute than in previous places.  Even our son Sean, wheelchair and all, has been welcomed and seems to be getting something out of it.

And all without leaving our house.

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