First, this week’s weather haiku:
You know the wind’s bad
When it blows the yarmulke
Right off a guy’s head.
(That really happened. Twice.)
A recent article I read in Zenit discussed the bishops of the Holy Land Coordination, a group that makes an annual visit to the Holy Land for a summit. The bishops, who hail from England, the U.S., Canada, Spain, Germany, France and other nations, recently released their statement from the conference. Their conclusion? Being pro-Israel must mean being pro-Palestinean. View the article. This particular sentence in the article caught my eye: “[The bishops] noted the faith of the Christians of the region, but also their ‘insecurity, fear and frustration,’ which ‘dominate the life of people across this land.’” I recently had the privilege of meeting with a Catholic women’s group that consisted of nearly all Arab Christian women, Palestinean Catholics. “Insecurity, fear and frustration” are good words to describe them. One woman seemed very self-conscious about the fact that she was Palestinean, and constantly made nervous jokes about it. Insecurity. Another woman repeatedly told me that everyone is crazy in this country. Frustration. Another woman voiced her apprehensions about what the Holy Land will be like in the years that come, what will happen to the Christians here and what it will be like for her children. Fear. The thing that surprised me the most after my first trip to the Holy Land, and continues to mystify me, is that many Americans are completely unaware of the existence of Palestinean Christians. Not all Palestineans are Muslim. However, they may soon be. Many Palestinean Christians are being forced out of their homeland by pressure, lack of opportunities, and a difficult quality of life. Their numbers are dwindling and someday it may be possible that there will be no Christians in the land of Christ’s birth. Their lives truly are filled with insecurity, fear and frustration. Please pray for them and for all the people of the Holy Land.
In case you are interested in learning more about the Christians (and other peoples) of the Holy Land, Salaam Shalom, by C. Alan Ames, is a good place to start. This Catholic fiction book was recommended to me by Jessica D. in Austin, and while parts of it are rather improbable and slightly cheesy, it gives a very good first look at the situation here in the Holy Land, both in the physical and spiritual realms. Find the book on Amazon.
On a lighter note, while trying to learn a little more about what makes something kosher, and why certain things such as stoves, dishes, and even dish detergent are kosher or not, I began to wonder if it was possible to make a non-kosher kitchen (or stove, or dish) into a kosher one. The answer is yes. There is a process called kashering that renders previously non-kosher items kosher through a series of cleanings and ritual separation periods. (Interestingly enough, Jewish women who are menstruating must go through a similar process for humans. There is a ritual separation of a few days, concluding in a ritual bath, and then the woman is considered ritually clean again.) And what about making a kitchen temporarily kosher? I found this interesting article that talks about the overnight kashering of the White House kitchen for a Chanukah party last month. Even the hanging pot rack had to be covered in foil and saran wrap! Read the article or view a video on the White House’s YouTube channel.
This week’s delicious (and incredibly easy!) recipe, Lemon-Pepper Chicken, comes from Paul Lowe’s Recipe Monday on Sweet Paul. It only has seven ingredients, most of which I’m sure you already have in your kitchen. And it’s a delicious winter food because it includes fresh citrus!
(And yes, my chartreuse knife matches my chartreuse cutting board. Awesome!)
I love Paul’s recipes because he writes them in a kind of free verse, without numbered instructions. It seems like a good friend chattily telling you how to make a delicious dish, instead of a bossy cookbook laying down the rules for you. He also mentions in the recipe that any part of the chicken will do; he uses drumsticks, while we opted for boneless chicken breasts. And for those of you who were wondering how we’re faring with our crazy oven, the oven thermometer works great, thank you, and now we have a better handle on what temperatures the cryptic dial numbers correspond to. This dish was made almost completely without incident. (The gas on the stove ran out part way through cooking and we had to run down three flights of stairs to turn on the other tank, but that’s another story.) Here’s how our Lemon-Pepper Chicken turned out. Delicious! Get the recipe.
For those of you that missed the conclusion to the Guessing Game in last week’s Sunday Seven, it turns out that this…
The correct answer was “fish pedicure!” Learn more in “The Incredible Feet-Eating Fish of Jersusalem,” a post from earlier this week. And congratulations to Meghan in California for correctly guessing the answer! She is the winner of the prize, a lovely green scarf from Jerusalem! Shalom Sweet Home will have at least one photo guessing game per month, so be sure to subscribe to blog updates via a reader or email to stay up-to-date! (Look for the word “Follow” in the sidebar at right.)
Also, in case you missed it, the fish pedicure episode marked Shalom Sweet Home’s entry into the YouTube world! View the YouTube channel. Also be sure to subscribe there! And check out the fish pedicure video here:
Have a wonderful week!