Tuesday, March 11, 2014

spring, i don't trust you!

I have made four things recently that I'm really smug about.

1. GRANOLA. It's actually still not done. Whenever I have to dry something in the oven at the lowest temperature, it takes me five days because I have to pause the process to bake something pretty frequently. We might eat it all before it's even done!

2. HUMMUS. just using canned beans, nothing to write home about, even though that's what I'm doing right now.

3. OLIVE TAPENADE. It was so easy! Just use the food processor to chop up about a cup of kalamatas, a few anchovy fillets, some capers, garlic, olive oil, and thyme/herbes de provence. Since we buy kalamatas in a 4 gallon barrel and the other ingredients were cheap, this recipe is way more economical for us than the tiny jars you get from Trader Joe's. Like you could actually make enough to take to coffee hour or to give as a gift. (The only thing I didn't like about it was pitting a cup of olives, because your fingers get too oily to grip the sharp knife. If anyone has any tips about pitting olives, I'm open.) It is so good with the hummus! You fasting people must try it! On....

4. BREAD. I finally got inspired to go to the library and get a copy of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day. And let me tell you people, it is everything it promises. I might even buy it. All week my family and I have been simply agog that with so little effort and recipe following ability I have been able to make such great bread. I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS FOR MY WHOLE ADULT LIFE. You literally dump yeast, flour, water, and salt into a plastic shoebox, let it hang out for a couple hours, keep it in the fridge, and rip off a chunk of dough when you need some bread. And it is so much better than anything we could ever buy in this town.

I wish it were sourdough, but you know what, it's awesome homemade bread without any crap in it. It's a big improvement health and budget-wise over the stuff I was relucatantly buying in the store. I read somewhere that you can add a cup of starter to the dough with no adverse effects. I might do that. But I don't have any starter and I don't have that much room left on my counter for bacteria projects. (Could my kefir have been bullying my sourdough starter? C'est possible!)

I promise I'm going to write about something besides food some day. I have been waking up earlier than usual so that I can be a little more leisurely in my preparation for the day. This gives me more time to have interesting thoughts, but I don't usually have time to write them down before I have to go to work. Once I'm there, I'm in a room full of computers all day. For some reason blogger won't let me write a post from my work computer, and when I get home, I don't want to use the computer for anything but recipes, music, and Search the Scriptures. So posts aren't happening too often.

That's what I hate about having a jobby job. It steals the best hours of your life. Or at least it doesn't pay you enough for them! (How much would be enough, though, for my most fertile, clear thoughts?)

By the way, if Fr. Josiah Trenham kind of bummed you out or gave you the heebie jeebies with his lectures on the Good Wife and/or Good Husband, try this episode in Dr./Presvytera Jeannie Constantinou's Bible study. The topic is the effect of the Fall on woman. I almost cried when I listened to it because I was so relieved. I would like to write more later about it, but I'll just leave you with a tiny quote:

"The ideal for Orthodox marriage is not a hierarchy, but an equal partnership."

She is just as highly credentialed a scholar of Patristics and the Bible as Fr. Josiah, and is somehow coming to completely different conclusions than he did. Interesting...

The part that made me almost cry was when she told how her husband, a priest, is the one who encouraged her to get her Ph.D, even though it took away time from him and from the family, because he knew that she had a talent that the world needed, and he wanted her to learn and grow as a person as much as she could.

If you were edified by TGW/TGH, I'm really glad! If you were somewhat put off and wish for another perspective, try Dr. Jeannie. (That makes her sound like a Dr. Ruth or Dr. Laura! But I'm tired of writing her whole name.)


  1. I love reading about food, so I don't mind that you write about it.

    Thanks for the tip about Dr./Presvytera Jeannie Constantinou, I'm intrigued.

    Hope you are well!

    1. Oh good, I'm glad you like it. I thought of you with the tapenade (I don't know that many Greek people so whenever I eat kalamata olives...) I also thought of you when I listened to the podcast. Definitely check it out!

      I am alive and well off the Faceborg for now. But I did look over Matt's shoulder and see your post about CTS singles/Philip... I snorted!

    2. Haha, I'm glad you were amused. I ended up finding a tenor for him, yay! If only he could find the 15 single gals of the parish a husband...

  2. I have *not* listened to the talk you linked (I will try if I have a chance), but the quote you shared stuck with me for some reason and I've been wondering why it is that one has to choose *either* hierarchy *or* equality? I don't think that the two are mutually exclusive.

    1. I have been thinking about your question. My question in response would be, what does the equality mean within a hierarchy? For example, when I think of a general and his subordinate, certainly they are equal insofar as their human rights are concerned, and they also have equal opportunity to prove their valor and worth as soldiers. Is that the direction in which you're thinking?

      The context of the quote from the podcast (which is actually just my paraphrase) is a discussion of Ephesians 5, in which Paul FIRST says generally "submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." (Is he talking just to husbands and wives, or to the church at large? The context is ambiguous to me.) He then says for husbands to love their wives and for wives to respect their husbands. Dr. Constantinou says that the first statement is the ideal, and that the later statements are more like psychologically astute advice. If we followed the first injunction perfectly, then he wouldn't have had to reiterate that husbands should love their wives and wives should submit to their husbands. The ideal is to work together, both submitting to each other. To the extent to which you can't do that, the following advice is pertinent.

    2. Yes, that's what I was thinking - that one person above the other in their jobs, so to speak, does not imply inequality of personhood. A priest is not a "better" or more valuable person than a layman, but he has a different kind of authority than the layman has.We are all equal in Christ and since we are called to imitate him we must be willing to put the other person first before self. Submission has such an extremely negative connotation in this culture that I think it's often misunderstood when the word is used in the traditional Christian context. People balk and get upset because there is not a common understanding.

      I did listen to the podcast you linked and hearing it in context helped. It seemed to me that she was speaking more about the Christian ideal in an abstract sort of way, in which we all ought to be humble and submit to one another, whereas Fr. Josiah was speaking more about how to reach that ideal by first recognizing and then combating the prevalent non-Christian attitudes of our day. That's a huge oversimplification I guess..... :)

    3. Did you like her explanation of (here comes my mangled greek transliteration) hypotassomenoi? (sorry greek people.) I thought that was beautiful. And you know, I think Fr. Josiah would agree with her in that definition of submission, but to my ears it just sounds different coming from a rather forceful man on a pulpit who's *demanding* submission as the Christian ideal than it does from a gentler, very well educated woman who is asking for everyone to submit to each other.

      It seems to me that when two or more people are having trouble submitting to each other in love, then a hierarchy is necessary to give more specific guidance as to exactly how we submit to each other in love. But if a husband and a wife (or any group of people trying to work together) are very in tune with each other's personalities, needs, and strengths, and seek to serve each other in all things, the hierarchy just doesn't seem necessary to me, except in service of expedience (a chain of command is often very helpful in getting stuff done and keeping people happy.) Especially when it's just two people who have chosen to unite their lives, and not hundreds of people who don't necessarily know each other (as in the church, the army, the government, etc.)

      Another thing that I thought was interesting in Dr. Jeannie's account was that "woman's desire is for her husband, and he rules over her" as a result of Eve's failure to master herself, NOT because we were created to be ruled by men! I wondered whether Fr. J would agree with that or not. They both seem to know Chrysostom very well and come to such different conclusions! I'd like to compare the texts they are working from. (One difficulty with podcasts-- it's hard to go back and find citations.)

      In general I just thought that her approach had more freedom in it, which appeals to me. Maybe I'm also just biased towards the kind of marriage in which the husband encourages the wife to get multiple degrees and better herself, with no hint of reluctance (which I sniffed in Fr. Josiah.) But I still think there's something to be learned from Fr. Josiah, and I know that a few couples in our parish have really been touched by his lectures. I enjoy talking about it with you!

      P.S. What are your favorite baby-wearing systems? I have a moby for when the baby is younger and am asking for an Ergo for later. What do you think?

  3. Yes, I liked her explanation of hypotassomenoi. She laid it out clearly and eloquently.

    With regards to woman's desire for her husband being the result of her failure to master herself, I thought the Fr. J said the same thing, but I can't remember in which lecture it was... I suspect it may have been the 3rd one? But it's all starting to run together...

    It's interesting to me that you felt more freedom from Presvytera Jeannie's approach because I felt exactly that way about Fr. Josiah's talks. Especially the first one. I listened and I felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders somehow. I find it fascinating how people can be affected so differently by the same words.

    Baby wearing.... I think I'll have to email you about that because I could write pages and pages about it. I currently own 4 different wraps, and at one point I had 7 carriers in all, each one used for different times/purposes. It's a bit of an obsession with me... ;)

    1. hah, that's commitment! I love the idea of baby wearing and I really hope it works out for us. I'm committed to trying different things until it works, or I've run through all the options, or I realize that my baby just doesn't like it. Can't wait to snuggle up to the little bug!