Friday, November 16, 2012

This bacon thing is getting out of hand

I used to make turkey bacon and thought it was great.  Then one week, I ventured off the health-food track and picked up some pork.  We’ve never looked back.

As my kids get older, and their palates mature, somehow foods they once loved become suddenly indigestible.  The antidote to this trend, it seems, is inevitably more bacon.  First I bought bacon bits for salad.  Then I found myself sprinkling them into green beans, next burgers, then meatloaf.  Now, I can’t say for sure, but I might have sneaked a tablespoon or so of bacon into their oatmeal the other morning.

Running parallel to this developing bacon addiction, has been the sudden influx of widely available, bacon-infused products.  Would my children eat more broccoli, if I had a bacon-scented candle lit on the table?  Would they remember to brush every morning, if their toothpaste tasted bacon-y?  I think it’s altogether possible.

I’m not sure what I was thinking, last week, when I picked up yet another bacon incarnation: bacon flavored spaghetti sauce.  And it wasn’t because I was making the kids a quick, little pasta dinner.  No, I took the ultimate risk and added this absurd concoction to the world’s most amazing, Italian dish – which should never, ever be messed with – lasagna.  I know a lot of people who claim to make a fabulous lasagna.  It makes me snicker, really, because how can you possibly go wrong, when you are preparing a dish that is made up of layer upon layer of pasta and cheese?  But anyway, you are all going to have to bow out of this informal lasagna competition – I have it won.  I now have the ultimate secret recipe: Bacon Lasagna.  My kids always love lasagna, but they have never before eaten the whole pan in one meal.  All hail – bacon.

I’m thinking about weaving bacon around the turkey next week for Thanksgiving.  If I do, it might be the first time ever that 6 people, most of them children, eat an entire 16 pound turkey in one meal.  I haven’t committed, but I’m seriously considering the endeavor.

One note of warning: Bacon flavored soda pop.  We knew it was wrong, but we tried it anyway.  Stick with Bacon Lasagna.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Dear Good Samaritan...

Reading people’s bumper stickers is a wonderful source of amusement for me – the more the better.  Sometimes I gain some pithy insight, sometimes I cringe or groan, but almost always, I am entertained by what someone choose as their personal message to the world behind them.

As much as I love reading bumper stickers, I rarely display them myself.  To me they are kind of like tattoos – there’s no one, brief message, by which I would want to be defined as a human being – or even just as a motorist.  Not even those cute stick families, or an ichthus (the fish shape Christians use to identify themselves to one another).  Both are still loaded symbols that might convey to someone a disdain for them I do not have, or a vanity to which I do not subscribe.

Sometimes I am tempted, in my love of back bumper bling, to try to create a collage of stickers that somehow defies the stereotypes I fear reinforcing.  What if a put my pro-life “Motherhood is a proud profession” sticker next to my “Obama Biden 2012” sticker, add a hopeful, “Jesus loves you,” throw in a cheesy, “smile, it makes people wonder what you’re up to,” and then top it off with a snarky, “Don’t worry what people think, they don’t do it very often.”  It would be kind of fun to add the stick family of Star Wars characters, too.  Would the people behind me at a stop light, from whichever camp of abortion, politics, religion, contemplation, or Sci-Fi, be confused and angry, or marvel at my breadth of commitments and sense of humor?

Last week, someone proved to me why no message can ever stand alone, as a testimony to the world about who you are and what you are about.  My husband had a campaign sticker on the back of his truck, and we came out of a store to find a note tucked under our windshield wiper.

Perhaps this person thought they were going to have a laugh at our expense, and I’m sure they proudly boasted about the pile of these photocopied greetings that they had distributed during election season.  But what does anyone gain from calling someone else an idiot, based on one, small modicum of information about that person?  If you are going to call yourself a “good Samaritan,” I suggest you pull open your scriptures and actually read the story.  Jesus’ story redefined community, illustrating that those who agree with you, who publicly claim to operate out of the same perspective, are often of no value to you in your time of deepest need – real community has to do with reaching out to one another, past divisions and divides, and offering our best to one another in every circumstance.  Labeling someone “idiot” is in direct conflict with the story of the good Samaritan. 

This note tells me, from this one, small modicum of information I now have, that the writer is not a faithful, generous servant of Christ, using the blessing of freedom to build up our country and make the world a better place, but instead a judgmental, divisive person, who has done their candidate and their Creator a great disservice, by spreading ill-will in their name.

But I would like to push myself, unlike this “good Samaritan,” to look the past one, hopefully small, shortcoming I see in this person, and remember there is an entire person on the other side.  I’d like to believe that they are actually a good person, with a misguided sense of humor.  I’d like to hope they will offer me the same grace when I cut them off on the freeway, forget to use my blinker, or accidentally swerve into their lane while avoiding a fallen branch.   I hope they can join me in attempting to offer less judgment, and more acknowledgement of our commonalities.

 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Luke 10:29

Friday, November 2, 2012

I love the High Life Lounge – for serious. I love it.

I love this place.
Whether it’s the awesome collection of beer signs or the wood paneling, I couldn’t say for sure.  Maybe it’s the $2 Sloppy Joe, because everyone knows I hate overpaying for a meal, but the High Life is the dingiest place I ever loved.  Out with a friend a few weeks ago, I was taken aback, trying to figure out what was wrong with the place.  Finally the giant fans clued me in – they had shampooed the carpet.  It just didn’t feel like the same place when the shag was fluffy – and didn’t have Chili-Cheese Tater Tots smeared into the fibers.  I’m sure it will better by my next visit.

The High Life is a place where you can order Schlitz without shame, and take down a deviled egg or two while you enjoy your cheap, crappy bear.  I don’t disparage the good times available at the west side’s upscale hotspots, complete with their fancy martini menus and well-dressed patrons, but if you’re going to pay for a hoity-toity beer, the last thing you want to do is have it served to you with a napkin around it.  Why pay for a status beer, and then pretend you want to hide the label?  You get none of that at the High Life, a place that feels like you grandparents’ basement, where you can buy the same brands of beer your grandpa would have stocked in his basement fridge, and eat the same comfort foods your grandma would have served you at the Formica table, with the green flowered vinyl chairs.

My grandparents were all strict Baptists.  They didn’t have a beer fridge, or a basement hang out.  Even my high school home was a historic farm house with a cellar, not a paneled basement.  Maybe that’s why the High Life is such a comfort to me – it’s the teenage beer party I never got invited to.  And best of all – there are enough other 30-somethings hanging out there to keep me from feeling how old I am that the d├ęcor of my childhood is now back in style.  I hope you all have a similar place in your town – otherwise, maybe you have some neighbors that will share their basement with you?

Be happy and enjoy eating and drinking! God decided long ago that this is what you should do. Ecclesiastes 9:7