Monday, March 21, 2011

Breaking Bread

Every Monday during Lent I will be attending a get together at church that includes soup and a talk or video with discussion.  Today was amazing, Sister Marie made a ham and veggie soup that I will have to ask for the recipe for.  And a priest from here in Charm City came to speak about immigrants, and the immigrant center that his church decided to build about 10 years ago.

*Side note, I am extremely passionate about immigration.  Enough that I've been able to change G's mind on things, and it's something we discuss at least once a month.  I go back and forth with considerations of finishing up my bachelor's and going to law school to become an immigration lawyer because I feel we need more individuals passionate about reform. 

It was an amazing presentation.  Without knowing it there were a couple people from Nigeria at my table, and my heart hurt for this woman's tears.  I talked to G about her family and am praying that some resolutions are found, that paperwork can get properly filed and they get out of being stuck in limbo.

Something the priest spoke about was the way our Catholic church is universal.  How he's been amazed that how some thing we've dealt with within the church (switching from Latin masses for example) was the same problem the world over.  And he spoke about the need to form relationships with the immigrants, to get to know them, that that is the first step to really getting them more involved in church.  And we discussed how for most of the world, food has a lot to do with that.  The idea of inviting them to your home, and that when you're invited to theirs, to taste their food because a lot of times they will say, "now it shows you want to know me."

Food is this amazing thing.  It has the ability to bring people together and really display the beauty of life.  G and I have become more and more particular about our meal time rituals.  We've cut back on munching in front of the t.v. (whereas for instance we might have done pizza and a movie before), we don't like to take calls, and we like to make sure we bring topics of discussion to the table.  I like to use our china and silver and set the table nicely.  Our dinners usually last anywhere from an hour to 3 hours depending on the meal and what all we have to talk about.  It seems old-fashioned and dated, but I have seen the way it has bonded us even in the harder moments.

Our kitchen is definitely the center of our home.  It's where strife is shared and happiness is celebrated by dancing around in flour covered aprons.  Though I still stress about it, I love inviting people in, for coffee and a pastry, for a meal, for just standing and talking while enjoying a glass of wine.  And I try to relax because in the end, it's about breaking bread together, sharing life, and really forming relationships.

I'm planning to spend my birthday at an art museum for a fundraiser dinner for the immigration center.  I nearly laughed aloud as we were looking at the flier today and I saw it was for the night of my birthday.  I've had friends who have thought it was odd that I've been so nonchalant about the fact that G will be gone for that day, but my birthday hasn't really been all that important to me these last couple of years.  I told G today that I think I might finish the back of our garden with some roses and a Mary statue as my birthday gift to me.  But what better way to really celebrate than with a dinner full of various world cuisines listening to African and Caribbean choirs and watching Irish dancers? 

If you could make one thing about meal times more special, what would you do?  Or if you've already got a routine, what makes it sacred for you?


  1. I suppose growing up, my family was old school and we always ate together in the dining room. We've done that with our kids too, though since we have fewer at home these days, it's usually in the kitchen. I never feel like the day is complete unless we eat together. No matter who shares our evening meal with us, we always hold hands and give thanks. I think it may be the only time some of my sons' friends are exposed to thoughts of God. I hope when my kids have families of their own they'll do the same.

  2. A wonderful posts! The world definitly needs more 'old-fashioned' things! Afterall it isn't just about table manners and holding your fork properly, it's about a wonerful sense of connecting with another human being. A mini communion every time you sit down for a meal.

  3. Oh, how wonderful! Now I want soup. :)

    We try to eat together as a family and set the table, get drinks, napkins for each other. It's so routine that they just do it without thinking!

    And I like to clean up/wash dishes with them in the kitchen while we talk.


  4. Not only does our culture need to forget the last 40 years of convenience-oriented behavior, but we should rethink how we treat other human beings who are far from home. I won't get political here, because I don't do so on my blog either, but gracious hospitality is more than just saying thank you.

    And I think it would be a nice addition to your season of solitude to celebrate your birthday by celebrating others' cultures!