Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What do you feed a teenager?

Well, for dessert it will be chocolate pudding cake with ice-cream.
Selecting a recipe for dessert was the easy part.
I have so many good recipes to choose from and I found my head crammed full of this and that.
Finally I decide on my menu.  A tried and true meal, relying on something I had prepared once before for this somewhat fickle crowd.
Roasted Chicken pita sandwiches- my own twist on a gyro
Chocolate pudding cake with vanilla ice-cream

I only had one request for "no peppers" of any kind.

The preparation will be simple, easy and not in the least fussy.
In fact, the dessert will be the one dish that takes just a little more effort to prepare because of the measuring.
The time element must be specific as I want the dessert to come out in time to be served warm with all that chocolaty goodness leaving the bowl warm to the touch and  the ice-cream slowly melting into little pools around the pudding.
The rest of the menu requires chopping.  Which reminds me to bring along my own knives.  Cooks should always rely on their own knives.

The chicken will roast in the oven having had a generous sprinkling of aromatic spices.
salt & pepper
Their scent will carry beyond the church kitchen, down the hall and into the office bringing back to me my share of curious onlookers following their noses.
Last time I helped cook for the group I cut two large bags of onions.  Their scent, so strong carried into the other rooms causing folks to "tear up" while practising their songs for Sunday morn.

For some reason when I am asked to cook for a crowd,  I take great delight in serving something Middle Eastern.
I go back in my memory of another time, another dinner where there was a large group of people and a similar meal was prepared for us.
People sat in smaller groups eating, laughing, sharing in a communal setting and it felt like one large family.
As always I ponder on the social dynamics of sharing any meal and how it brings people together.
As for the chocolate offering.
Again I go back into time and remember a kindness that involved...chocolate.

A group of girls in another country, Jordan to be exact and I was one of the leaders.
Girls separated from boys in living, sleeping quarters except for the Arabic minister and his wife hosting us.
One evening Pastor Noor called me into the kitchen.  In his arms a plastic bag filled with all things chocolate.
Chocolate biscuits
Chocolate bars
Tins of chocolate
Lots and lots of chocolate.

"Here," he said.  "For the girls".  An extremely sweet gesture.  And he place the bag into my hands.
I will forever remember this very kind act to a bunch of girls staying in another country very foreign to them except for the one thing we all had in common, chocolate.
And, it is only one of my reasons why chocolate will follow my meal tomorrow evening.
I only wish that Pastor Noor and his family could join us for tomorrows meal and dessert.

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