What’s for supper? Vol. 128: My love language is pork.

We may be sabbages, but we’re sabbages who eat like kings. Here’s what we had (carb counts at the end): 

SATURDAY
Chicken burgers, tater tots, salad

I have no memory of Saturday. Oh wait, yes I do! I went to pick up the final kid from college. Hooray!

SUNDAY
Oysters, banh mi, grilled peaches with ice cream

Mother’s day! What a wonderful day I had. When we got back from Mass, we did some food prep, and then went for a hike in a nearby gorge. How I love gorges.

Did I mention all the kids are home?

I was showered with thoughtful gifts and attentions all day long. And gin!

For banh mi, we use this Serious Eats recipe, using onions instead of shallots – and, obviously, pork instead of steak this time. If you’ve never made banh mi before, there’s no way I can prepare you for the horrendous smell of the meat marinating in fish sauce. I sealed it up in a ziplock bag as fast as I could, but not before much gagging and groaning. It also stinks when you’re cooking it, so moving this show outdoors was a good plan.

We have always heretofore made banh mi inside in the oven, and I was a little concerned that thin slices of meat would fall through the grate, so I took the pork loin and hasselbacked it, cutting it into thin slices 3/4 of the way through, before marinating it for several hours.

It cooked up so nicely. Damien wrapped it loosely in foil and let it cook for a long time off to the side, not right over the coals, with the cover on and the vent open, until it was cooked all the way through

and then unwrapped it and put it right over the coals, and let it develop that gorgeous glazey finish.

Then it was easy to separate the meat the rest of the way into individual slices for the sandwiches. It was so moist and tender!

While it was cooking, I sliced some baguettes into thirds and toasted it. I had also made some pickled carrots in the morning (slice carrots thin, set to pickle in vinegar with a little sugar mixed it) and sliced up a bunch of cucumbers (I didn’t pickle them, because I wanted something cool in the sandwich) and chopped up a bunch of cilantro, and set out mayonnaise and sriracha sauce. I forgot the jalapenos, but the flavor was sufficiently intense and exciting. Just a wonderful sandwich, a real mouth party.

While we were waiting for the meat to cook, we had ourselves some oysters.

My husband bought enough for the kids to try one and reject it

and then we got to scarf down the rest in peace with tabasco sauce, horseradish, lemon wedges, cocktail sauce, and beer. Look at that blue, blue sky.

And check out the fancy nubbly ice! I picked up a hand-cranked ice crusher at a yard sale last year. I’m basically a Proverbs 31 woman, what with the yard sales and the pickling. Damien also pronounced his new oyster gloves and knife (affiliate link) the best $15 he spent all week.

For dessert, I had my heart set on grilled peaches. It’s truly not peach season, and the selection of peaches reflected this fact, but my husband dutifully hunted some down. I split them in half and dug out the pits, and then set them to macerate in a mixture of melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon. I thought this might help them ripen up or something, I dunno. Then, after dinner, my husband grilled them over the coals

until they were lovely

and we served them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with chopped pecans. Someday, I’ll serve this again, but I’ll make a bourbon caramel sauce, and I’ll candy them pecans. For lady reasons I can’t explain, I had mine with Greek yogurt instead of ice cream.

It was good! The whole day was so good.

MONDAY
Pizza

Two pepperoni, two black olive, 16 inches each. I’m ready to face the fact that, with the college kids home, we’ve graduated into a five-pizza family.

This has nothing to do with food, but here was our morning at the pediatrician’s office.

They are contemplating all the poor sick people that are likely there today.

TUESDAY
Hot dogs, chips

On Tuesday, I gave a speech in the morning, and then we had a concert in the evening. Here’s the grouse I’m still cherishing: I dislike wistful pop songs about the glories of childhood and the misery of being a weary, cynical adult. I despise such songs all to billions of pieces when actual, current children are made to sing several of them in spring concerts. I’m still cranky enough about this to mention that the choir director position in our school is sort of like the drummer position in Spinal Tap, so maybe next year they children can sing songs written for children, rather than for people who spend their lives smoking weed and then wondering why adulthood is so disappointing. Bah!

There was cake after the concert, and I prepared by buying a lovely bakery cupcake for Lucy, so we’d know how many carbs there would be, and she could dose accordingly. Well, the label that looked like 31 carbs in the supermarket turned out to be 81 carbs right before she dosed up. Sheesh. I think that, before a kid gets diabetes, they should have the mom take a test that says, “Can you read? All the time, or just sometimes?” and if the answer is “sometimes,” then the kid should not be allowed to get diabetes.

WEDNESDAY
Southwest chicken salad

I wanted to recreate this excellent salad I got from McDonald’s. I did hear myself say that, and I stand by it.

Mixed greens, grilled chicken, avocado, shredded, spicy cheese, corn, black beans, red and green peppers, cilantro, fresh lime, and toasted tortilla strips, with a spicy ranch dresssing. Hooray, another pretty and delicious salad meal!

I always have a ludicrous backlog of tortillas in the house, so I was happy to take a ton of them and hack them into pieces. I mixed the strips up with a drizzle of olive oil and plenty of salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Then I put them in a single layer in shallow pans and toasted them at 350 for about 25 minutes or more. I think the time has come for me to start buying chili lime powder.

For the corn, I intended to buy a few cans of ¡Mexicorn!, because it makes me giggle, but I came across a bag of frozen “Chipotle corn,” which comes with the beans and peppers and some kind of honey sauce. Easy peasy. I just let it defrost and set it out in a bowl. This meal is definitely going in the rotation. You can make everything ahead of time.

Oh, and I accidentally bought “taco cheese,” which I thought was cheese destined for tacos, but it’s actually seasoned with taco spices. You know what? It tasted good, so I’m going to buy it again, so there.

THURSDAY
Miso soup, brown rice with egg and pork floss, asparagus

So, I had these foods. Kyra sends me foods. I had this miso paste, which I definitely wanted, and then also this pork floss, which . . . I was reserving judgment about.

Pork floss, also known as “meat wool,” is pork that has been transformed into a sort of savory, gritty lint. So I says to myself, I says, you’re never too old to stop learning! Why don’t you look up some authentic recipes and find out how deliciously this gritty meat lint should be prepared in a way that, with a slight tweak of cultural expectations, will open broad new vistas of culinary delight?

Well, most of the recipes were like, “My grandfather used to put a scoop of it in some Wonder Bread and then ball it up, and then he would shout at me if I didn’t eat it in one bite” or “I guess maybe with porridge?”

So I settled for cooking some brown rice, sprinkling it with pork floss, and topping it with a fried egg.

Boy, it did not taste good. It tasted like pork in the same way as I look like my wedding picture: Clearly the same subject, and yet the alterations are undeniable, troubling, and profound.

I did feel a little well of schadenfreude bubble up in my arid soul. Ooh, ooh, Asian cuisine! Ooh, it’s so delicate and exquisite, so what do you know, you great cloddish westerner, with your big chomping face and your gurgling cheeseburger stomach?

Yeah, well, pork floss is Asian, and it’s garbage. It was like in Bonfire of the Vanities (RIP Tom Wolfe, by the way) where they’re so thrilled to discover their intimidatingly flawless nanny is a flaming racist. Phew!

We also had miso soup, which I love, and which you can tart up in all kinds of ways, but it’s really supposed to be simple. Exquisite, if you will. So I boiled some water, added some dulse (I don’t know what dulse is, either), mixed the miso paste with hot water and added that, then threw in some cubed tofu. If it hadn’t been a hot, muggy day, it would have been a great soup. As it was, it was a little bit challenging.

I also had some asparagus, which I steamed and served with lemon wedges. Guess what the kids ate? That’s right, bagels.

FRIDAY
Mac and cheese

Probably gonna use this recipe doubled or tripled and top it with buttered bread crumbs.

And there it is.

***

Here come the carbs:

Banh mi, oysters, and peaches:

pork:0
2/3 cup fish sauce: 74

g 2 tbs minced garlic: 6
8 Tbs sugar: 100
1/2 cup onion: 8
_____
total pork and all sauce: 188, but of course you’re not eating all the sauce.
If she eats 1 tbs, that’s 11.75
bread: 1/3 baguette: 56
pickled carrots: 7
cukes: 1
———-
64
peaches: 7 per half peach
2 Tbs sugar: 25.2
1 Tbs cinnamon: 6
1 stick butter: 0
dash of salt: 0
olive oil: 0
31.2 divided by 12 = 2.6 per sauce on each half peach
pecans: 1/8 cup, 2 carbs
ice cream 1/2 cup, 15 carbs
_____
half sauced peach with 1/2 cup ice cream and 1/8 cup nuts: 26.6
102.35 total meal including dessert
***

pizza:

portland pie pizza dough beer 20 oz: 208
1/2 cup Reggano sauce: 13
3 cups shredded Happy Farmer mozzarella cheese: 12
olives: 0
Pepperoni: 0
—–
Total pizza: 233
1/4 pizza: 58.25

ice cream cone: 39

total meal: 97.25
***

Southwest chicken salad:

1/4 an avocado: 2.15 g
Season’s Choice Chipotle corn blend (corn, black beans, red peppers, poblano peppers in honey butter sauce): 3/4 cup 24 g

tortilla strips with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, 1 sm tortilla: 19
chicken with olive oil, salt, and pepper: 0
spicy ranch dressing Tuscan Garden: 2 Tbs, 1 g
2 cups green leaf lettuce and baby spinach: 2g
Happy Farms taco style shredded cheese: 1/4 cup, 1g
1/4 lime: 1.75
cilantro: negligible

***

Miso soup meal (amounts are not scaled to serving size, because Lucy didn’t want any of it, so I stopped calculating)

Tbs miso: 5.3g

Maine Coast Sea Vegetables dulse: 1/3 cup, 3 g; whole bag: 24g
scallions:
Nasoya sesame ginger tofu: 8g per 8 oz package
Simply Nature quick cook brown rice: 3 cups uncooked: 408g
fried egg: 0
T&T dried pork floss: 6 Tbs, 11g
asparagus: .6g per spear
lemon: 5g per lemon
***
Mac and cheese:

3 lbs macaroni : 1008
Burman’s hot sauce: 0

6 Tbs butter: 0
3 Tbs mustard: 0
3 c milk: 39
1 lb Happy Farms pre-shredded mild cheddar: 16
24 oz Happy Farms aged New York sharp cheddar: 0
Total without breadcrumbs: 1063

Optional:

Hannaford Italian style bread crumbs: 1 cup, 80 g
butter: 0

Total with breadcrumbs: 1143

How long can you avoid summer employment? A quiz

Have you finally turned 16? Have you run out of excuses for spending the summer lying on your neck and building Minecraft volcanoes to throw your chickens into?  If you are in the middle of a job hunt, here are some questions you can ask yourself, to predict your chances:

1. Your mother says, “Hey, you have a half day today. It’s a perfect opportunity to go pick up some applications.” Do you 

(a) Say, “You’re right. Thanks. Let’s go.”

(b) Say, “But me and my friends were going to . . . never mind, let’s go. Hey, can we get pizza while we’re out?”

(c) Say, “Bu-u-u-u-u-u-u-ut I have to finish my science project that’s due tomorrow, and I haven’t had a chance to even start it yet because I was too busy doing the thing! Oh, and I need a square foot of silk, some denaturized borax, and a sheet of titanium/ Also, can you give me a real quick synopsis of what Shakespeare is about? And I need $450 for a yearbook — and please, Mom, cash this time. The pictures on your checks are so lame.”

2. Your father says, “So, have you filled out those applications yet?” Do you

(a) say, “Yes! They’re in this manila envelope so they don’t get lost or creased. Can you proofread them for me?”

(b) Say, “Yes! Well, mostly. Well, a few. Well, I started one. Well, I was about to. FINE. Can I borrow your pen?”

(c) Go into a long tirade about the crushing of the human spirit that is inherent in the request to distill personhood into little boxes and columns. For instance, your interests encompass the entirety of humanity, but I suppose that wouldn’t go over well with these corporate overlord tools, would it? I mean, what is even the point? Am I supposed to start off my journey into the adult world with a big, fat lie? Is that what you really want from me? Because I can do that, if that’s what you want. I’ll do it, and you’ll see.

3. You get up to the part that asks for references. Do you

(a) Have a wide selection of prominent community members from which to choose, but finally whittle it down to the chief of police whose puppy you saved from drowning, the nursing home director whose grant from the governor you secured, and the governor, who is your uncle.

(b) Come up with two people who are rooting for you and one who doesn’t wish you any particular harm. Ehh, nobody reads these anyway.

(c)  Assume that most adults are too dumb to realize that the number you provided is your home phone, and the reference they’re speaking to is your dog.

4. You have a bunch of applications in your hand are are headed out to turn them in. Do you

(a) Stride in with confidence and cheerfully offer them to the person in charge, planning to follow up in a few days if you don’t hear back

(b) Politely but awkwardly turn them in and get the heck out of there before you trip again.

(c) Realize that you are the proud owner of eleven different but generic applications, and that you have no idea which one goes to which business. Also, they are wet with what we can only hope is that horrible Japanese melon soda you pretend to like. But other than that, you’re a shoe-in, champ.

5. You land an interview! Do you

(a) Dress nicely, speak clearly, answer truthfully, and generally project confidence, courtesy, and a willingness to work

(b) Answer some of the questions a little too honestly, but come off as reasonably ept.

(c)  Forget to change out of your “Fools, I’ll destroy you all!” t-shirt. But they probably didn’t notice, since that infection in your eyebrow ring is all anyone can seem to look at anyway.

****

IF YOUR ANSWERS ARE . . .

Mostly (a), You’re done for. Soon you’ll be earning a check and building a resume. Thanks a lot, jerk! Now all the other kids are gonna be expected to get jobs, too!

Mostly (b), you are perilously close to actually landing a summer job. With any luck, your math teacher will need it more, though, and you can spend another summer at home.

Mostly (c), Hey look, one of the chickens got out of the volcano! BURN HIM.

Image via Pixabay (Creative Commons)

This post originally ran in the Register in 2014.

Is it technically abuse? Does it really matter?

A child who is told he is stupid will always believe he is stupid. A child who is told she’s a failure will always believe she’s a failure. When these insults and hostility come from the very heart of the family, they take root.

Read the rest of my latest for The Catholic Weekly.

Image by George Hodan (Creative Commons)

What’s for supper? Vol. 127: Berry the lede

Too tired to hear any stupid jokes about food? You’re in luck, because I’m too tired to make any. Here is some factual information about seven meals we ate. Carb counts at the end of the post.

SATURDAY
Chicken salad with berries, nuts, and cheese

Oh, what a pretty meal!

I doused the chicken breasts with olive oil, then sprinkled them with salt, pepper, and oregano, and slid them in a pan under a hot broiler, turning once. Cook, cool, slice, then serve over greens with diced red onions, blueberries, sliced strawberries, crumbled feta, and toasted hazelnuts.

I don’t think I’ve ever even seen hazelnuts for sale before, but there they were, on sale. I spread them in a shallow pan and put them in a 350 oven for about six minutes.

Good with balsamic vinegar or a sweet dressing.

SUNDAY
Pork carnitas, chili lime corn, pineapple

Yuhm. I took a 4-5 pound pork loin and put it in the Instant Pot with a can of beer, salt and pepper, and about a cup of jalapeno peppers and juice, then set it to cook on high pressure for an hour. I wish I had given it another 15 minutes. Not all of it fell apart as tenderly as it should. Still tasty and spicy, though.

I oiled a shallow pan and spread the shredded meat and jalapenos in it, with a sprinkle of chili powder and cumin, then put it under a hot broiler until it was a little crisp. Then I served it on tortillas with salsa and sour cream. I forgot to put out the cilantro.

We also had chili lime corn on the cob. This is really much better if you grill the corn, but I just boiled it. When it’s cooked, squeeze some fresh lime juice over it and sprinkle it with chili powder. It’s exciting!

I did the same thing, lime and chili, with fresh pineapple. The roof of my mouth was swollen to twice its normal size by the end of the meal, but it was worth it.

MONDAY
BLTs and garlic bread

That’s what the birthday boy wanted. I bought six pounds of bacon, and there was bacon left over. I didn’t even know there was such a thing.

TUESDAY
Chicken shawarma with pita, yogurt sauce, and veggies; frozen grapes

One college girl home, one to go! I wanted to make something nice, and shawarma is nice as can be.

I started the chicken marinating the night before. Here’s the marinade (simplified from this NYT recipe) for about eight pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs and 4-5 quartered red onions. Note: this is a ridiculously delicious meal, so buy more chicken than you think you will need.

1.5 cups lemon juice
2 c olive oil
4 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbs, 2 tsp pepper
2 Tbs, 2 tsp cumin
1 Tbs red pepper flakes
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbs minced garlic

When you’re ready to cook, oil a rimmed pan and lay the chicken and onions on with a little of the marinade. Cook at 425 for about forty minutes, until the edges of the chicken are crisp. Let it cool a little and then slice or break it up. It should be ridiculously tender.

We served it with triangles of pita bread, black and kalamata olives, wedges of tomato and cucumbers, feta, and plenty of yogurt sauce. Here’s the yogurt sauce recipe:

32-oz tub of full fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup lemon juice
salt and pepper
2 Tbs. minced garlic

You really should have fresh parsley, but I forgot.

A splendid meal. Frozen grapes are also very nice and refreshing. You can use them to cool your drink, too, if you don’t want it watered down.

WEDNESDAY
Spaghetti with sausages

A much-requested meal. Okay by me.

THURSDAY
Grilled ham and cheese on sourdough bread, spinach salad

Another longed-for treat. I did put salad out, but nobody ate it, not even me.

Check out that cheese lace in the evening sun.

FRIDAY
Tuna boats, salt and vinegar chips, mangos

I’m including a picture in case you don’t know what tuna looks like..

Do people know how to peel mangoes? It’s easy. You locate the pit and cut away the two “cheeks” as close to the pit as possible. Then take each one and, using the rim of a drinking glass or metal cup, gently scoop away the fruit from the peel. So much easier than trying to get the peel off the fruit.

Then you’re left with the pit surrounded by some salvageable fruit, and you have to whittle that away, or just gnaw on it like an animal, and then floss a lot like an animal.

Okay, here’s the carbs we done carbed this week:

Chicken salad:

chicken with olive oil, wine vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano: negligible

2 Tbs of chopped hazelnuts: 10
blueberries 10 g per 50 berries – about 1/2 a cup): 10 g
strawberries (.9 per medium): 4 strawberries, 3.6
feta cheese (1.2 g per ounce): doesn’t want
green leaf lettuce: (1 g per cup): 2
red onions, diced, 1 Tbs: 1
______
26.6
ice cream: Specially selected chocolate super premium: 48 per cup
whipped cream: 4 Tbs, 2 carbs
cherry: 2 cherries, 2 carbs
______
52 for dessert
Total meal: 78.6
***

Carnitas

tortilla: medium soft taco size: 24

meat with jalapenos, beer, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper: 2
sour cream: 2 Tbs, 2 carbs
salsa: doesn’t want
pineapple: doesn’t want
corn on the cob: 32
chili powder: doesn’t want
lime juice, 1/4 lime: 1.5
______
61.5
dessert:
Sundae Shoppe crunch bar: 15
76.5 total meal

***

garlic bread and BLTs

1/4 baguette: 27
butter: 0

garlic powder: negligible
—-
27
2 slices L’Oven Fresh soft rye bread: 34
bacon: 0
tomatoes: 5 carbs per tomato, 2.5 for half
lettuce: 1
mayo: .1 per Tbsp
—–
37.6
cookie: 25
ice cream: 2/3 cup, 27g
—–
52
116.6 entire meal

***

Shawarma

1.5 cups lemon juice:
2 c olive oil
4 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbs, 2 tsp pepper
” cumin
1 Tbs red pepper flakes
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbs minced garlic

2 tsp marinade (?): 5

onion slices: 1

(32 oz greek yogurt: 35 carbs
1/4 cup lemon juice
salt and pepper)
roma tomatoes: 6
cukes: 1/6 with skin, 2 carbs
kalamata olives: doesn’t want
black olives: 0
pita bread 1/2 small pocket: 19
33 for dinner (doesn’t want yogurt sauce)
9 ice pop
1 cup green grapes: 28
______
70 total meal

***
Spaghetti

sausage: .7 per link

spaghetti, 1 cup: 43
Reggano marinara Sauce, 1/2 cup: 13
cheese: 0
2 ice pops: 18
18 pretzels: 25
_______
99.7

***

Ham and cheese

??
I guess I didn’t write this down.

***

Tuna

potato bun: 25

1/2 c skipjack tuna in water: 2
mayo: 0
26 salt and vinegar chips: 26
mango: doesn’t want
1 cup oyster crackers: 44
97 total meal

Chilean abuse victim’s respectful persistence holds Pope accountable

Pope Francis had an extraordinary meeting with Juan Carlos Cruz, a Chilean survivor of priestly sexual abuse, whose testimony about molestation and subsequent cover-up the pope had originally publicly denigrated, calling it “calumny.”

Last month, Cardinal O’Malley, who is president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, publicly admonished the pope, who then reviewed a 2,300-page report based on interviews with 64 witnesses. The Pope wrote a letter of apology about his response to the Chilean victims, acknowledging that he “fell into serious errors in the evaluation and perception … due especially to the lack of true and balanced information.”

Pope Francis told abuse victims, “I was part of the problem.”

Cruz said he was grateful for the Pope’s apology, but disputed that Francis had a lack of information about the abuse and alleged cover-up.   Cruz says Cardinal O’Malley told him that he had delivered a letter detailing the victims’ allegations directly into the hands of the pope.

In May, Cruz and two other Chileans victims spent personal time with the Pope over the course of several days, speaking candidly with him for hours. In an interview with NPR, Cruz said the Pope told him, “Juan Carlos, the first thing I want to do is apologize for what happened to you and apologize in the name of the pope, and in the name of the universal church.”

Cruz said, “He was listening and he sat right across from me and nobody was there. We talked one day three hours, another day two hours, another day an hour. … The pope cannot claim that he was misinformed like he did last time,”

Cruz said he talked not only about the abuse he suffered, but about the pain the Pope personally caused by publicly calling it “slander” when a bishop was accused of covering up the abuse. Cruz said he told Pope Francis, “You cannot imagine, Holy Father, what this does to someone who is trying to tell the truth.”

He named at least one “toxic” prelate who continues to work closely with the Pope, and whom Cruz considers to be part of the “culture of abuse” in the Church.

He said several times in the interview that, while he is grateful for his time with the Pope, and found his attention and concern moving, he is not yet satisfied, and wants to see concrete change in the way the Pope and the Church in general responds to victims of clerical abuse.

When the NPR interviewer asked Cruz how the entire experience has affected his faith, he said that his faith was the thing keeping him going. Because of his love for the Catholic Church, his goal is not only to find some measure of peace and justice for himself, but to give a voice to the countless other victims who are still suffering without redress.

Cruz’s example of respectful persistence epitomizes the proper role of the laity in the 21st century. We hope that those in authority in the Church will be true and just shepherds. But when they are not, it is our duty to persist in holding them to account. We build up the Body of Christ by holding its head to the highest standards, not by allowing it to persist in error out of a false sense of piety or respect.

***

Image by Christoph Wagener [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Does Your Child Need Professional Help? You Can Do This.

All parents, sooner or later, come up against a problem they can’t solve. This is where we recall that parenting is about self-sacrifice, and sometimes it’s our pride that needs sacrificing. Your child is more important than your self-image. Your job is to fight for him or her, and that includes enlisting help.

Read the rest of my latest for Parable magazine.

Image by Alon via Flickr  (Creative Commons)

7 things Australians need to know about life in these United States

4. In the United States, the father of your father is called ‘grandfather’, and his father is called ‘great grandfather’, and his father is called ‘great-great grandfather’, but his father is always called ‘Aloysius’.

Read the rest of my latest for The Catholic Weekly.

What does Pope Francis mean by “embrace?”

The new book A Pope Francis Lexicon (Liturgical Press, 2018) includes a chapter by me, titled, “Embrace.” A version of this essay is now in Parable, the NH diocesan magazine for which I am a columnist. Here’s an excerpt:

Pope Francis is often chastised for what some see as a folksy, imprecise, emotional brand of faith that winks at the law. All those hugs! Who was ever saved because of a hug? Our savior redeemed us by fulfilling the law on a cross, not by giving us a big hug!

Indeed. Francis knows as well as anyone that an embrace is not a miracle. When he tenderly embraced the tumor-ridden head of the unfortunate pilgrim Vinicio Riva, he did not expect the man to be instantly healed. When we enter into an embrace—either a physical one offered by our fellow Catholics or a spiritual one offered by the Church—we are not automatically reconciled to each other or to God, nor do we automatically understand and accept our obligations.

And yet Pope Francis continues to insist on coming together, accompanying, seeking union, and—yes—embracing each other. Is this just naiveté? Does he really think huggy togetherness is an adequate substitute for orthodoxy? Let’s look at how he uses that word “embrace.”

Read the rest of “Embracing His People” here.

Image by Long Thiên via Flickr (public domain)

What’s for supper? Vol. 126: In which I eat a lot and feel sorry for myself

Like the guy in the back of the horse costume, I’m always behind.

My food photos are mostly scattered to the four winds, sadly. Some are on the phone of my son, who is at a party. Some are being held hostage by my iPad. Some, I may have just dreamed. You’ll be glad to know the one of the glistening, tumescent sausage made it through.

Here’s what we had for supper this past week. Carb counts at the end (some of them, anyway).

SATURDAY
Hamburgers, chips

 

Oh yes, spring has finally come to the Fisher house, and the Fisher husband immediately started cooking outside. Delicious. The burgers were also very good.

SUNDAY
Gochujang pork, rice, sesame asparagus

 

My very dear and slightly crazy friend Kyra (YOU KNOW KYRA) sent me a completely marvelous package which included a ten-pound tub of gochujang. TEN. A ten-pound tub, of gochujang. And I’m not sure it’s going to be enough. 

 

Okay, that wasn’t even the most startling thing in the package, though. Smoked dried squid. Vegetable twists — “Lonely God” brand, of course. Pork . . . Floss? I don’t know what to do with pork floss. Help me out here!

 

Kyra and a bunch of friends also worked together to make the most amazing thing for Lucy. It’s a stainless steel-and-jasper chainmail medical alert bracelet. It has my cell phone number engraved on the back, and she loves it. I will share the pic as soon as my stupid iPad will talk to my computer. They’re currently angry about something.

 

My dad was over for dinner, and my brother and his five awesome kids and their nice little dog came over, too! We had a great time. It was the worst day of the cat’s life. He caught four mice in the next four days. I guess he thought we were holding job interviews for his replacement.

 

We christened the gochujang with pork and more cookout. In the morning, I mixed 1.5 cups of gochujang with 2/3 cup of honey, 4 Tbs sugar, 4 Tbs soy sauce, and a ton of minced garlic, and set a bunch of boneless pork ribs in it to marinate all day. We also did a big batch of pork ribs with just salt, pepper, and garlic powder for those not on team gochujang.

 

I made a bunch of white rice in the Instant Pot using the 1:1 method (all you have to do is rinse the rice thoroughly, then add one cup of water for each cup of rice, close the top, close the valve, and press “rice.” IP rice comes out nice and sticky).

 

For the asparagus, we doused it with olive oil and a little sesame oil, salt and pepper, and a lot of sesame seeds. I spread it in a shallow pan and put it under a hot broiler until it was a little charred. Tasty.

 

MONDAY
Oven shish kebob, corn on the cob, cherry tomatoes

 

I cut a boneless pork loin into cubes and mixed it up with chunks of green pepper, portobello mushroom cut in half, and red onion wedges, and dumped an entire bottle of Italian salad dressing over everything, then let it marinate for several hours.

 

At dinner, I spread everything out in some shallow pans and put them under a hot broiler until, you guessed it, it was a little charred.

 

I love this meal so much. It’s not as good as actual shish kebob, of course, but it’s so freaking easy, and people can pick out whatever they want. You can serve the food on toasted buns if you like, or just eat it plain. The kids call it “shishkombobulated,” but I don’t think that’s necessary.

 

We also had cherry tomatoes, mostly for the color, and the first corn on the cob of the season. Guys, if winter hadn’t stopped, I was gonna die. It was so awful this year.

 

TUESDAY
Hot dogs and surely some other things. Maybe beans? Carrots?
???
WEDNESDAY
Bangers and mash, peas

 

This is what it looked like, okay?

When I make a big batch of something, I keep track of all the carbs that go into it, then measure the whole thing, then divide it up and arrive at carbs per serving. I thought I’d be a smarty and make an individual portion of mashed potatoes, but it’s harder than you’d think to choose measurements of stuff you’ve always eyeballed before! I used one medium potato, 1/3 of a cup of milk, and 1 Tbs of butter, plus salt and pepper. It was pretty milky.

 

I don’t know if you’re supposed to have gravy or what, but we didn’t. Everyone got a heap of mashed potatoes and a couple of sweet Italian sausages, and some peas. I actually made this meal the day before, because we spent most of Wednesday at the pediatric endocrinologist. Then we were supposed to go to Diabetes Group for lunch, but instead we found a spot by the river and enjoyed not being with people.

You know, I spent most of Monday at the hospital myself. I think of myself as a healthy person, but when I look at all the different effing meds I’m on, I guess I’m not. I went to the ER on Monday because I could no longer ignore the increasingly severe chest pains I’d been having all week, plus disruptive dizzy spells and nausea. My heart looks okay, thanks be to God, but we don’t really know what is causing this nonsense, except possibly my migraine medication isn’t helping. I had high blood pressure, which is unusual for me, so I got a prescription for that. So, it’s a big ball of ugh and I am trying to just get on with life, but it’s a bit discouraging. This week sucked.

 

Yes, I have been eating less meat and salt and whatnot since then. I ran two miles today, and I had a salad for lunch!

 

THURSDAY
Nachos

 

I had a small amount of nachos.

FRIDAY
Ravioli

 

I had a small amount of ravioli. Look, I’m not on trial here! My heart looked fine!

 

Well, here’s the carbs, or some:

Bangers and mash

1 med potato: 37
1/3 cup milk – turned out to be too much: 4
1 Tbs butter: 0
sweet Italian sausage: 0

2/3 cup peas: 13

Nachos
Clancy’s White Round tortilla chips: 11 chips, 19 carbs
meat with Casa Mamita taco seasoning, 2 envelopes, 36 total
meat: 0
(2.39 lbs raw, 4.5 cups cooked. Seasoned meat is about 4.5 carbs per 1/2 cup)
salsa: 3 g for 2 Tbs
sour cream: 1 carb per Tbs
Happy Farms finely shredded taco style cheese: 1/4 cup, 1 carb
Lucy:
chips: 22 chips, 38 carbs
meat with seasoning: 4.5 carbs per 1/2 cup
sour cream: 2 Tbs, 2 carbs
popsicle: 10
apple: 15
70.5 carbs total Lucy meal
I guess we just did the rest of the carb calculations on the fly, because that’s all I have! Smell ya later!

Podcast #56: Glory be. (free! free!)

Matt Walsh,

Cape Cod,

Tony Montana,

baked beans,

fat girls,

football pooper,

LEONARD BERNSTEIN! It almost works.

And a poem by John Bargowski.