Friday, 31 August 2012

The eyes of all creatures look to you O Lord

...and you give them their food in due time.

That is the opening lines of a formal grace before meals. It has been whirring round my head recently, sometimes inspiring me and sometimes making me giggle. I giggle when I look at the pleading face of Woodruff the cat, or the Kune Kune pigs I recently saw at their supper time. I am inspired when I am out and about picking my own sweetcorn, broad beans, rhubarb, apples, beetroots, and all sorts at the local farms hereabouts; when I am shopping in the butchers, greengrocers, bakeries, and markets; and, when I am scrummaging around the hedgerows for blackberries and other goodies.

Late August and September, despite the return to school, is my favourite time of year. I love harvest. I am truly grateful for it every year. And, this little line from Psalm 145 reminds me of how much more grateful I should be. I live a life of luxury. Sure, I have no money, and have to choose carefully the things I buy. But, the no money I have is nothing in comparison to the no money others suffer. 

There is a habit I have at meal times. I light a candle on the table, just before the meal begins. In my head I ask for a blessing on the food, those who brought it to the table and those who will share it - a quiet moment of thanks. I rarely say grace out loud. Partly this is because I am shy. Partly it is because I often eat with people who do not share my faith, and I might make them feel awkward. However, I am always happy when someone does have the courage I lack, and speaks the grace that is on my mind.

There is, of course, a dream that goes with this post. I woke up thinking of that line from that Psalm, and I woke up laughing. I cannot remember exactly what was going on - I was walking along a long and dusty road, and complaining, complaining, complaining about everything. I had a pain in my knee, my back, my toe and, I was hungry - really hungry. I was complaining about that too. I get very grumpy when I am hungry. My companion was clearly fed up, it was dark, and as we approached a bend in the road, looked heavenward in exasperation exclaiming: 'The eyes of all creatures look to you, O Lord'. We turned the bend and a brightly lit, homely and open bar could be seen. I chimed in, 'and you give them their food in due time.' I laughed with my companion, and woke up still giggling.

Today is the feast of St. Aidan of Lindisfarne and his companions. When, way back in the mists of time, I walked to Lindisfarne across the tides, it was cold. I got too cold and hungry and fainted. Hot food, whiskey and blankets made me feel human again. I was very grateful for that too.

The other day I made hamburgers. They were yummy served with fresh corn on the cob and homemade smoked garlic mayo.

A hamburger feast.

2lb fresh lean mince
5 shallots, finely chopped
1 tsp mixed herbs
an egg yolk
burger buns (you can make your own, I didn't)
gherkins, sliced in half
A tomato thinly sliced
Jarlsberg cheese, thinly sliced

Mix your finely chopped shallots with the lean mince and mixed herbs, salt and pepper. Add an egg yolk and give a good mix with your hands to help bind. Form this mixture into good sized burgers (I made 8), by forming balls in your hands and then flattening them out. Leave to one side. Make your mayo.

Smoked Mayonnaise

3 egg yolks
4 crushed smoked garlic cloves
200 - 300ml olive oil

Crush your garlic into a bowl. Add the three egg yolks and mix well, season with salt and pepper. Very, very, very slowly add your olive oil and whisk. Keep whisking and adding the oil as it thickens up. Don't get carried away and add too much oil at once, it will not thicken. Just be patient. Soon you will have a bright yellow, wibbly, wobbly, bowl of deliciousness to go with your meal.

Back to the burgers....

Heat a grill to the maximum temperature and place the burgers on the grill pan. Allow them between 8 and 12 minutes depending on how well you like them cooked.

At the same time, boil the sweetcorn in salted water for about 8-12 minutes or until bright yellow. My flatmate made some special butter by deseeding and finely chopping fresh chilli and mixing it with fresh butter. We slathered our sweetcorn with that when they were cooked. Yum.

I finely sliced some tomatoes, cheese and gherkins and placed them in small bowls on the table. Slice the bread rolls in half and placed them unbuttered on the plates, with a burger, and then brought everything to the table to allow an 'assemble your own' affair. It was delicious.

The eyes of all creatures look to you O Lord, and you give them their food in due time. You give it them, they gather it up. You open your hand, they have their fill.

 I was starving. :-)


Anonymous said...

Now I am starving too!

Kimberly said...

Sigh...(a good sigh...) So often your posts leave me quietly content, and yes... full! Thank you!