Sunday, August 31, 2014

Day 243- A Mitford First

Several years ago I read a popular Christian fiction series by Jan Karon built around the fictional town of Mitford. This bestselling series of nine Mitford novels featured Father Timothy Kavanagh, an Episcopal priest, and the fictional village of Mitford. The setting for this series is the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  In these quaint novels, we get to know Father Tim and his flock of faithful and somewhat quirky parishioners. He meets a lady named Cynthia and they fall in love and eventually (read finally) get married.  This was a relaxing and enjoyable series of books to read.  So many novels these days are built around some pretty dramatic and horrific events. It seems like so many deal with someone being murdered, kidnapped, or some virus threatens to wipe out the world. This series was much more about small town life and the personalities involved there.

In her series, there is some attention given to what the people cook. It is not unusual for churches to have great cooks and dishes they are famous for making. Father Tim's church, Lord's Chapel, in Mitford was no different. In 2004, Karon published a Mitford cookbook.  People could learn how to cook the meals described in the Mitford series.

Today, some really sweet friends of mine cooked me a Mitford meal for my "first."

This was extremely sweet and thoughtful.  We enjoyed a wonderful Mitford meal together. This was not a half-way done meal either.  Our menu today included:
  • Father Tim's Baked Ham
  • Emma's Candied Sweet Potatoes
  • Emma's Green Beans with New Potatoes
  • Lovella's Mashed Potatoes
  • Peggy Newland's Summer Squash Casserole
  • Puny's Macaroni and Cheese
  • Lovella's Deviled Eggs
  • Cynthia's Fried Okra
  • Lovella's Cornbread
  • Esther's Orange Marmalade Cake
  • Emma's Fudge
If you are thinking "that's quite a meal" you would be right.  It was absolutely delicious.  The green beans with new potatoes reminded me of my Mom's cooking. She would do that usually with the first picking of green beans in the early summer.  The macaroni and cheese was made with a sharp cheddar which gave it a unique and tasty flavor.  The one that surprised me the most was the Peggy Newland's summer squash casserole. I am not a fan of squash, but fictional Peggy knows what to do with a squash. Laura said that was her favorite.  I had guessed she would like Emma's candied sweet potatoes the most. She liked them a lot, but the squash beat it out. Of course, we love sweets and they were delicious as well. 

After we finished eating Laura said, "Those Mitford people sure know how to cook."

Esther's Orange Marmalade Cake

Puny's Macaroni and Cheese

Peggy Newland's Summer Squash Casserole

Emma's Green Beans with New Potatoes

Emma's Candied Sweet Potatoes

Lovella's Deviled Eggs

Happy Mitfordites

I thought of a couple of things about this "first." It obviously was very kind of my friends to do this.  There is something pretty fun about Sunday lunch with a theme.  I hope the pounds I've put on from this (we brought home leftovers) are fictional.

I also thought about how good it is for Christian brothers and sisters to eat together.  Jesus ate with people a lot.  He even invited himself to Zaccheus' house and he was not exactly chairman of the deacons at the local church.  He went to weddings.  His enemies called him a glutton (He was not) which meant he must have eaten with people a lot. After Jesus resurrected from the dead, He ate fish with His disciples (John 21). I think this means there will be seafood in heaven. Even one of the ordinances of the church is the Lord's Supper.  One picture of Heaven is called the marriage supper of the Lamb. 

Yes, God is for people eating together. It is not about the food.  There is just something about relaxing and eating together that helps to build friendships.  I know some churches eat a lot together.  This sometimes is made light of, but I think it is very healthy. Eating, laughing, and sharing life together is a beautiful part of God's family.

I encourage you to consider having a meal with someone this week. Why not invite someone new at your church over for Sunday lunch?  We want to build strong, solid relationships where we can get to know, love, and encourage each other.  As you get to enjoying being with one another, don't be surprised if your Father in heaven smiles.

Tasting the abundant life

3 things I thank God for today
1. Mitford series
2. Today's Mitford meal and the sweet people who cooked it
3. Heating pads (this from Laura)

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