Monday, October 05, 2009
Taste and See -- Days 19-22
Smörgåsbord. Besides being a fun word to say (though difficult to type), smörgåsbord is the word that best describes the tastes of the past few days.
First there was almost duck. Almost duck is when your friendly neighborhood chef comes out from the back to visit with you and you say, "So got any duck on the menu tonight" and he says "Not really, but I'll fix it for you" and you say "Cool" and then when the duck gumbo comes begin to dig in and realize, after a few bites, that there is a distinctive flavor you haven't experienced for awhile and look down and see "SHRIMP!!!!!" in the dish and you're allergic to shellfish and your friendly neighborhood chef forgot that you were allergic to shellfish and so threw shrimp in for you just to make it special and you then cannot eat the meal you're hungering for and your friendly neighborhood chef is feeling horrible because he almost poisoned you and you're feeling bad because it wasn't his fault and you don't want him to feel bad and you end up have chicken gumbo, which is very good and which you call "almost duck" the rest of the night.
Then the next day the flavors ranged from the standard morning oatmeal to chicken chili and salad that was barely tasted (but I hear was good) to cheese and crackers. The cheese and crackers and soup and salad were food from the Art of Faith workshop Beth Booram and I led this weekend. They were barely tasted because I was too nervous to enjoy them. The good thing was that cheese was nice and room temperature by the time Nancy and I got home on Saturday night and, with an opened bottle of wine, tasted just right. Added to that, Nancy, our friend Sarah, and I stayed up late wining, cheesing, and chatting about all sorts of things -- art, faith, Mormons, Quakers, Amish, oral histories of Kentucky coal miners, and more.
On Sunday, I started with oatmeal (surprise!) and then for lunch we had thick French toast and fried eggs. Then I went off to the airport, where I met my little brother Aaron and we went into Harry and Izzy's and had a beer (me), diet Coke (him) and shared french fries while watching the Colts game. A plane ride to North Carolina for a meeting then followed. In Durham, we was greeted with a lovely buffet that included oysters on the half-shell and shrimp (somebody is out to get me!!!) and lamp chops and ... well, quite a spread. And good conversation with the other people at the meeting. Then wine and goldfish (the cracker kind!) before bed -- with more conversation.
So I've been sorting out all these flavors -- all good, all interesting, all unique, and all in different locations -- home, Duke University, the Indianapolis airport, the basement of Trinity Church, the patio at the David Thomas Executive Conference Center, and probably a few more places that have escaped my short term memory at the moment. The flavors and their memories are both shaped by the actual tastes and the associations I have for those tastes. Almost duck was great -- because it was a Zydeco's and Deb and Carter are two of my favorite people and I know they love me and weren't trying to poison me (you weren't, were you, Carter?). And the cheese and crackers and wine were superb because Nancy had carefully prepared them for the workshop and then we got to enjoy them and the relaxed conversation after the workshop.
Regardless, this smörgåsbord of tastes has been a blessing. A gift from God out of the riches of God's bounty prepared for me. Yep, for me -- and today, while remembering them, I can see and feel and taste God's goodness to me. It's a lesson I need to keep in mind -- even on days when the buffet is not quite up to my expectations.