the real condiments of food

Discourses are the real condiments of food if … they are seasoned with salt. For word is whetted by word; and not only is the belly fed with food, but the heart is also fed with doctrine.”

— Martin Luther, Lectures on Genesis Chapters 15-20 (Luther’s Works, vol 3).

I love this quote.

And Natalie and I have found it to be true this Christmas and New Year as we’ve shared meals with family and friends.

We’ve prepared and enjoyed some great meals — such as roast duck with grilled asparagus and parsnip puree, marinated chicken with a middle eastern spiced cauliflower salad, and pizzas cooked on my new pizza stone!

But its the conversations (what Luther would call ‘discourses’) that have been the real highlight.

Our friends and family are such precious gifts from God!

compelling food

One of our favourite pastimes is cooking. (This well and truly predates Masterchef.) There’s something about studying a recipe or the contents of our cupboard, methodically performing all the operations — chopping, combining, stirring — smelling the developing aromas, and finally enjoying the product that is just so … satisfying.

Occasionally, however, things go haywire. Often the product is salvageable — if a little ‘rustic’. Sometimes it’s almost irretrievable (at such moments it’s handy to have some back-up ice-cream in the freezer; there are very few situations you can’t fix by concluding with a bowl of ice-cream).

But sometimes we end up producing food that we like to think of as ‘compelling’. The most outstanding example of this we’ve ever served up was a green tea panacotta. It was fascinating. Every mouthful hinted that maybe, just maybe, it could be a mind-blowingly excellent dish. Either that or it was an abomination. You couldn’t quite decide. And you just had to keep eating in the hope that the next mouthful would bring resolution. It was … well, compelling.

Last night we made something that fell into the compelling category — baked pumpkin, green pea, pesto and fetta lasagne:

The idea was sound. In fact, it had the potential to be amazing. But something didn’t quite work. Not in a Turn You Off Your Dinner sort of way. But in a … compelling kind of way.