Green Salad with Prosciutto Vinaigrette
“The color-coded salad is one of Babylonstoren’s signature dishes and always features a mix of fruits and vegetables on the same plate. Maranda Engelbrecht, Babylonstoren’s head chef, says produce that looks good together tastes great together, too, and she’s developed specific vinaigrettes to complement the red, yellow, and green options. The crisped prosciutoo adds salty and savoury notes, not unlike what Parmesan brings to a Caesar dressing.”
Makes 1/2 Cup Vinaigrette
Do Ahead of Time: Vinaigrette can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.
Isn’t it uncanny how often significant conversations begin while seated around a table? Be they first coffee dates, university discussion groups, Sunday family lunches, funny stories shared around a campfire, or the significance of the wedding banquet across cultures worldwide, conversation grows relational connection, often facilitated by the sharing of food and drink. How can you begin a weekly practice of curated, intentional conversations, seated around a table of your choosing?
Here are a few questions to kickstart your conversation:
To practice Christian meditation literally means “to chew upon” a Scriptural text as one would savour a delicious mouthful of food. How can you develop a weekly rhythm as a Jesus follower of “chewing upon the Bread of Life?” One method involves the spiritual practice of “Lectio Divina: Sacred Reading”, a simple way to slowly open your heart to the Living Word of God alive within the Scriptures. Experiment with face-to-face moments each week (whether in person, or via FaceTime) where you are chewing on the weekly liturgy with someone else in our community.
The liturgy for October 2015 is as follows:
“After this he went out and saw a man named Levi at his work collecting taxes. Jesus said, ‘Come along with me.’ And he did – walked away from everything and went with him. Levi gave a large dinner at his home for Jesus. Everybody was there, tax men and other disreputable characters as guests at the dinner. The Pharisees and their religion scholars came to his disciples greatly offended. ‘What is he doing eating and drinking with crooks and ‘sinners?’ Jesus heard about it and spoke up, ‘Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I’m here inviting outsiders, not insiders – an invitation to a changed life, changed inside and out.’”
(Luke 5:27-32, MSG)
“And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.’ And he added, ‘These are true words that come from God.’” (Revelation 19:9, NLT)
Have you ever noticed how frequently Jesus used the table as a central gathering place for his teaching? A careful read of many of his central teachings reveal that it’s as if he knew that his followers would receive and respond to his message of the present availability of the Kingdom of God most completely if they had food and drink in hand, seated in proximity to him, ready to engage in heartfelt discussion. It’s amazing actually to pick up on how often the Gospels record his most well-known words spoken around a table – the Last Supper, dinner at Mary and Martha’s, on the road to Emmaus to eat with his friends, at the home of Levi, a notorious ‘sinner,’ among a small handful of ready examples. What does the table facilitate for Jesus? As Rev. Emily M.D. Scott, the founding pastor of St. Lydia’s, a “Dinner Church,” puts it: “To know the other always takes place on the smallest level possible: one human sitting down with another. But in doing so, we encounter something huge: the limitless presence of God.” Recently, I’ve been picturing Jesus with the determined warmth of a beloved family member who takes great joy in inviting you to share their table during the holiday season, whispering “I don’t care if you you don’t feel worthy or able. Simply pull up a chair and eat with us – you will not regret it,” all the while knowing that if they can simply convince you to join them at the table, your heart will open to the loving transformation of the Kingdom that proximity to one’s neighbour facilitates while being asked to pass the salt.
Invite a friend to ponder this Kingdom value of Jesus’ with you this month, using the spiritual practice of “Imagining the Text: Ignatian Contemplation” to imaginatively enter into the scene of Luke 5:27-32 in The Message.
HI guys, we are running a bit late in all the end of year madness, but here is your first one for NOV! Second will follow!
“I see the hunger for an experience of intimacy and the sacred reflected in the culture at large. Our renewed interest in the local, the artisanal, the reclaimed, seems to me to be a yearning for a life that takes place at a smaller scale. We want to know the person who made our bread in a bakery, not a sprawling, steely factory in some distant, nameless place. We want to know the smell of the earth where our vegetables came from. We want to make things from scratch. In short, we want to know ourselves and one another.”
(Rev. Emily M.D. Scott, Founding Pastor of St. Lydia’s, a “Dinner Church”)
St. Lydia’s in Brooklyn, New York is a “Dinner Church.” In part, Rev. Emily M.D. Scott, St. Lydia’s founding pastor, describes this as an economic and theological necessity: their congregation is small because building space in Brooklyn is incredibly expensive, but more deeply, because they believe in the value of life at a micro-scale, with a proximity that begets intimacy with God and neighbour. What is a Dinner Church, according to Scott? A deliberate opportunity to ‘know the other’ at the smallest level possible, sitting across from one another at a common table. In her mind, this intimate proximity creates massive space for the presence of God to work in a community of faith. As Scott wrote recently in the Huffington Post, “A Dinner Church…means that we gather each week to share what we call a ‘sacred meal:’ a worship service that takes place around the table. This meal is patterned after those shared by Christians in the first few centuries of the church, which evolved into our current day communion celebrations with participants sharing the bread and the cup.”
A Dinner Church taps into the growing hunger within our global culture for a place to be known, a literal table that is a “third place” (Google the sociology behind our community’s name if you never had – it’s fascinating!) to belong within. In an increasingly wired, connected, massive world, an experience of belonging on an intimate level, face-to-face, simply cannot be replicated. The depth of relationship, laughter, and connection present while sharing food and drink around a table, talking about God, our lives, and everything else under the sun, can not be over-emphasized: The Kingdom of God comes near around a table. It literally is ‘at-hand.’
Who are you eating and drinking with? Where are you sitting? What tables have ‘become Church’ recently for you? Perhaps the Kingdom of God is closer than you think, a mere invitation away to join the dinner party, where all are welcome.
“Maybe you think you don’t want to work on vacation. But when you’re staying at Babylonstoren, tucked in the Cape Winelands outside Cape Town, you’d be wrong. To start, you can play farmhand on the hotel’s 1,400 breathtaking acres: Gather produce – peaches, mulberries, stuff you’ve never even heard of (loquats!) – bake bread early in the morning, press olive oil from the 8,800 olive trees, harvest honey with the resident beekeeper. Then head back to your room, stylish whitewashed quarters inspired by centuries-old farm cottages, and cook your bounty in the room’s glass-cubed kitchen. Open a bottle of wine from the property, and wonder why making dinner doesn’t feel this magical at home.” (Excerpts and Recipes from “Eat, Drink, and Garden Your Heart Out at Babylonstoren,” in the May 2015 issue of Bon Appetit magazine. // Recipes by Maranda Engelbrecht).
Yellow Salad with Citrus-Date Vinaigrette
“The color-coded salad is one of Babylonstoren’s signature dishes and always features a mix of fruits and vegetables on the same plate. Maranda Engelbrecht, Babylonstoren’s head chef, says produce that looks good together tastes great together, too, and she’s developed specific vinaigrettes to complement the red, yellow, and green options. The dates act as both a sweetener and an emulsifier in this citrusy, mustardy vinaigrette.”
Makes 3/4 Cup Vinaigrette
Do Ahead of Time: Vinaigrette can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.
“The most sacred moments, the ones in which I feel God’s presence most profoundly, when I feel the goodness of the world most arrestingly, take place at the table.” (Shauna Niequiest, Bread and Wine)