So go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this! – Ecclesiastes 9:7
I have to admit it, I’m a little proud of myself. This year’s first foray into a new cookbook went off, in my opinion, very well. You may remember my gift to Rebekah, the commitment to cook any recipe that she wants to enjoy, at the rate of one-per-week? Well, Saturday afternoon was the first.
We looked through a French cookbook, and we leafed through an Italian standard too. Both have some challenging recipes. But Rebekah kept coming back to Arrosto di Agnello, an Italian interpretation of Roast Lamb.
It was an international trifecta:
- North Carolina lamb, raised on a friend’s farm,
- cooked in the British tradition,
- with a recipe from an Italian cookbook.
What really worked flavorful magic, in believe, was the paste I made from finely chopped rosemary, minced garlic, minced pancetta, olive oil, and salt. It had to be rubbed over the surface of the lamb and worked into a series of half-inch incisions made with a paring knife. That and the new potatoes, roasted in the same pan, soaking up the lamb drippings as it all cooked.
Then, because the recipe was Italian, I served Chianti.
The meal was extremely labor intensive. But this is one way – an eloquent way – that I can say, “I love you” to Rebekah.
Of course, like anything worthwhile, especially if you want to experience a richly nuanced flavor profile, two-thirds of the joy is in the preparation. There is nothing instant, pre-packaged, frozen, microwave-able, or canned about great food, and there’s nothing even vaguely resembling fast-food convenience about relationships that mean anything in the long run.
HONORING GOD: I really do believe God is pleased when we enjoy good things in a spirit of genuine gratitude. I believe that our lives were designed to be celebrated, and that we were created – as the Westminster catechism teaches – not only to love God but to enjoy God forever.
Everything about the way we live – and the way that we love – can (and, I believe, should) reflect the goodness, the richness, the generosity, and the amazing creativity that characterizes the Spirit of God.
There is much to be done, obviously, to secure peace in this broken world, and also to provide for the needs of so many people who know neither freedom nor plenty, but it is still very much appropriate to enjoy the living of each moment.
In fact – and this is a statement of faith – I believe it is a sin of omission to live, and especially to love, by half-mesaures.
Jesus shared this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ But they all began making excuses…” – Luke 14:16-18
(See the pics below for Arrosto di Agnello, in sequence…)