Wednesday, March 9, 2011
The Supper of the Lamb
The Supper of the Lamb is the most unique cookbook I have ever read. (You will see the significance of the onion photo after the first chapter.) You know, I wouldn't even call it a cookbook per se, rather a philosophy of food and of life. A man can do worse than be poor. He can miss altogether the sight of the greatness of small things.(25) And, Nourishment is necessary only for a while; what we shall need forever is taste.(40)
There are indeed recipes at the back and throughout the book, but The Supper of the Lamb (written by a priest, Robert Farrar Capon) is much more encompassing than recipes. He delves into being a pathological calorie counter. His body may or may not lose weight; his soul, however, is sure to wither.(112) He discusses types of knives. A woman with a cleaver in mid-swing is no mere woman...A man who has seen women only as gentle arrangers of flowers has not seen all that women have to offer. Unsuspecting majesties await him.(61). The wonders of garlic, commercial stoves, and the many salvific attributes of baking soda. One of them being a Bestower of peaceful sleep after four beers, two heroes, and a sausage pizza...(186)
He freely discusses the views of wine. Each thing, at every moment, becomes the delight of His (God's) hand, the apple of His eye. The bloom of yeast lies upon the grapeskins year after year because He likes it...every September, He says, That was nice; do it again.
Let us pause and drink to that.(85)
My flesh creeps when I hear the legitimate love of the fruit of the vine treated as if it were a longer-winded way of doing what the world does with grain neutral spirits and cheap vermouth...God gave us wine to make us gracious and keep us sane.(91)
He states that we should feed children but not cook for them (i.e. cook to their tastes). No matter what they think, we know: We are the ones who have tasted and seen how gracious it all is.(131) And he even goes into kitchen cleanliness. Woks and iron skillets should be rinsed and wiped, never washed. If someone comes along and tells you cleanliness is next to godliness the proper answer is, "Yes- next. Right now I'm working on godliness."(142)...A sense of proportion is a saving grace.(143) And even differing methods of cooking, peeling or scrubbing is merely high church(30).
My favorite chapter, though, is on entertaining when he gets wound up about the cocktail party. A zealous host and hostess "may work themselves into a fit of omnipresence."(168) But, I find hard liquor and goodies from 5 to 8 p.m. to be inhuman, unmerciful, and frustrating.(168) Saying that the dinner party on the other hand is, an honest attempt to create a company, not a crowd.(170)
He speaks truth, my friend. A piece of cheese, a bottle of beer, and a twenty-minute nap would solve more of the problems of industry, politics, and the church, than all the pretentious martini-logged luncheon meetings in the world.(147)
Let me just leave you with, May you drink well enough to drown the envy of youth in the satisfaction of maturity.(180)
And remember, We were given appetites, not to consume the world and forget it, but to taste its goodness and hunger to make it great.(189)
(The book on the right is the copy I have, and where I stole all of these great quotes.)