One million years ago, when I was young, I went to Australia with thousands of other youths, because the Pope had invited us.
I did things there. Saw kangaroos. Ate lamington (U.S. GET ON YOUR SPONGE CAKE/ CHOCOLATE COATING/ COCONUT GAME)/ Weetabix/ Tim Tams (obvi, this is prior to being diagnosed gluten-free).
Also, it was winter there even though it was summer here, in the U.S. We were told that Australian-winter would be like the late summer in northern Michigan. I.e. in the day you wear shorts and in the night you put on a hoodie while you walk along the beach. That, my friends, is summertime in Northern Michigan (holler at Kid Rock).
Anyway, summertime in Northern Michigan might look like that, but apparently that was the coldest-ever winter for this particular place in Australia and so we were dipping below freezing temperatures every night. And, writing this in my boots and with my space-heater on next to me, 32 degrees doesn’t sound all that bad.
Except: we were in tents, yo. TENTS. And the tents froze over at night. And all we had were our summer clothes, really, with a bonus hoodie here and there.
Pilgrimages. Kind of the best, kind of also, simultaneously, the worst.
I actually burnt my face in a shower, because the shower was hot, and I was so cold that I thought it felt really good and I literally burned my face-skin. Only, there were no mirrors at the camp, so it wasn’t until a few days later when I was shopping in an Australian clothing shop and saw my face in a mirror that I noticed what had happened and that my face was peeling off burnt. miscolored skin.
ANYWAY all of this is extra and not tying into the reason I said I went to Australia which was: I heard a really good homily by Bishop Flores who used to rock it in D-town, but last I heard is in Texas somewheres.
Bishop Flores talked about snapshots.
He talked about how our memories are often snapshots. We can’t remember everything about a particular moment, but we can remember a little snip. And, so, when times are occurring that we want to try to remember, often we find ourselves desperately trying to commit everything to memory. We try to embed the people and place and senses into our minds, so that we never, ever lose them.
Bishop Flores said that, maybe the apostles had similar moments, when they were with Jesus. Maybe they, too, knew that their time with him was sacred and they tried to commit certain moments to memory–hoping to push those special times into the grey matter of their brains, to carry with them forever.
On Saturday I had a dinner party.
There were just under 20 people and nine courses. Plus flowers and fine china and wine and me making all of my family help me clean the house. Real talk.
And I meant to take pictures, but instead I kind of just didn’t. And instead I talked to my people and made them food and stuff.
I made this dinner party for a few reasons, and one of them was because I love entertaining and I have for years and years. But, once those doctors were like, “Look at your blood and your intestinal lining, you can’t eat gluten or meat” I was like, “Daaaaaaang it.” First of all, because I liked eating those things. Secondly, because I felt like I could no longer entertain well.
Like, which people want to sign up for a vegetarian party? Mostly no people.
But, I’ve worked on this. For a few years now. And, I thought that I could, at least, try. And, not only try for the simple but, also, rather, shoot for the moon, so to speak. Nine courses later.
Sometimes I think that people might know friends who are gluten-free/ meat-free and be overwhelmed with what people with dietary restrictions can even eat.
Well, if you want a nine-course menu where I tried to vary temperatures between every course and never repeat any flavors and equally balance carbs and proteins…here you go.
(My brother, Josh, made this one. It’s his specialty).
Roasted parsnip and garlic soup
with white beans and spinach
(Somehow rich without being too heavy)
Massaged-Kale Caesar Salad
With finely sliced red onion and red pepper with marinated chickpeas
(I adore that “Caesar” dressing. It’s made from cashews and it’s tasty without being overpowering and I may just eat the leftovers today for dinner).
Baked Zucchini “meatballs”
With a fresh ginger teriyaki sauce
And sliced avocado
(Love these meatballs. And a fresh ginger teriyaki sauce is the bees’ knees).
with magic sauce
(I first had these tortilla in Spain, on the Camino. They’re different than the “tortilla” we think about, the one from Mexico. These are egg-and-potato based. I guess the closest thing we have to them in the U.S. is maybe a quiche or a frittata. Still different, though.)
Deconstructed eggplant parmigiana
(I thought it might be fun to try–and it was. Tim told me that it was as good as his Italian grandfather used to made, which is too kind, but I choose to believe him anyway. Also–GF people, rice/ corn chex, finely ground, can be substituted for breadcrumbs FYI).
Mixture of soft/ semi-soft/ hard cheeses
Caramelized onions and olives
Grapes and mangoes
(Josh made this one, too. He match-sticked carrots and cucumbers and made a sauce that was ginger/ cilantro/ soy sauce/ hot pepper based. No regrets. Everyone just had a little bit since this was kind of late in the eating game, and the textures were lovely).
Coconut lime ricotta cake with berry reduction
Dark chocolate covered caramels (Sanders!! Detroit!!) with sea salt
(That cake, guys. Such rave reviews.)
So, there you have it.
And, after a full night of party and food and friends and conversation, my fam looked like this:
And for only having two pictures of the party, I like it.
I tried to impress the rest of the night in my memory. Like a snapshot.