There is something about sharing a meal with friends that makes it soul nourishing. Paul and I have been invited to several meals with members of our congregation enabling us to not only learn about the local cuisines, but also the folks who asked for our company.
Tonight, we tagged along to another church’s Fall Festival to share a meal with Jean, Annabelle and Don, three of our favorite church family members. The host church was where Jean grew up more than 80 years ago walking each Sunday with her family to worship.
I always like spending time with this small group – Don a retired wheat farmer, Annabelle a retired rural postal carrier and Jean a retired educator. They make jokes and tell tales spanning their lifetimes in this small rural community. It’s such a blessing.
The meal was also something to be wildly thankful for – full of things we never eat at home and new explorations. The smorgasbord contained fried chicken, ham and ham balls (this is like a ham loaf but in a ball), a variety of casseroles, including broccoli and rice, potato and cheese, scalloped chicken, sweet potato, stuffing and hot German potato salad. My plate was getting full fast with all of these new things to try. Then came the cold stuff – pickled beets, pickled eggs, coleslaw, layered salad, Jello, applesauce, fruit, hardboiled eggs, and a couple things that I wasn’t too clear about.
The abundance was amazing and the choices overwhelming, but with a full try in hand, I made it to our table and devoured every last bite. I know some of my foodie friends may turn their noses up at some of these choices, but I believe I should at least try things before I am prejudice of them (also if I said I was in France trying different stuff you would probably applaud me for my bravery, not judge me for me open mindedness.)
A meal isn’t a meal without dessert. The choices had me wondering for quite a while, especially since I was more stuffed than I’d been since last Thanksgiving. I chose a slice of Dutch apple pie and coffee to round out this dining experience.
I am so thankful not only for the full belly, but for the full heart I had this evening and wish everyone in the world could experience it as I have.
For those curious and wanting to try something very Midwestern, here are two recipes from our church cookbook.
Betty Jo Black
3 cups cooked diced chicken
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
1 can each – cream of chicken and cream of celery soup
1 stick butter or margarine
1 med. diced onion
1 loaf of white bread
Pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Mix soups and broth in saucepan stirring constantly.
3. Add butter and melt.
4. Cube bread and put in a large bowl, adding chicken and onion.
5. Pour liquid over bread and stir.
6. Beat eggs and add to bread mixture.
7. Pour into greased 10 x13 casserole and bake uncovered for 45-60 minutes.
1lb ground smoked ham
1lb ground lean fresh pork
¾ cup soft bread crumbs
¾ cup milk
2 TBSP catsup
Mix and form into a loaf.
Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Baste with glaze after the first 30 minutes and every 20 minutes after.
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup pineapple juice
2TBSP prepared mustard
½ cup crushed pineapple
Mix ingredients over medium heat until they boil and thicken.