One of the perks of living in a large formation house is that it’s possible to hire a cook to take over a few meals a week, leaving the friars free to work, travel, or pray up until the time of dinner. Not to mention the fact that at least half of us would not be able to produce edible or satisfying meals for that many people, friars do not work 9-5 jobs: sometimes the guys will come back for dinner and be back to their ministry until late in the night. In a lot of ways a cook is a necessity for a house this large and active.
That being said, we’re still responsible for our own breakfast and lunch everyday, and dinners on the weekend. Generally speaking, our director Ron will take one day and the Postulants are responsible for another, rotating among those confident enough to prepare a whole meal. Tonight, Sergio (whose parents are from Italy) made an Italian meal so good it was worth writing about on the blog.
Though we don’t partition the meals into courses, the meal started with two types of salads: standard house salad, and a caprese salad pictured above, complete with an apple carved into the shape of a swan (why not, right?). The main course was a linguini with marinara sauce and Italian sausage. Though none of this was made from scratch, he did a great job of adding a few spices here and there to make it extraordinary. On the side we had sauteed carrots and broccoli rabi, with a homemade loaf of bread. For dessert, a simple sugar free strawberry Jello with a few slices of strawberries on top. Not only was every dish prepared to perfection, Sergio had a lot of fun experimenting with the garnishes and creating little works of art on the food.
Though I can’t say that I did much more than lend a hand here and there (I handled the Jello all by myself), it was great to be in the kitchen most of the afternoon providing a service to the rest of the community. It can be a great place to talk while you pass the time, and it comes with a great sense of fulfillment when everything is plated and served for the others. Sometimes we’re Mary, other times we’re Martha, and I think it’s a sign of a great community when we can take on either role from time to time.