01 August 2007

what's cooking wednesday

and a little child shall lead them...

well, they really weren't so little at the time, but they were still children & they did lead! over 5 years ago, our daughters were preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation in our tiny parish - size of youth group = our 4 children + 3 others! Father T. was very sweet about the preparation, given that we were homeschooling (& covering the theology bases in our curriculum) & had easily met the community service requirements of our diocese through our regular volunteering at a local nursing home - he basically said just keep doing what you are doing.

Father was also the pastor of another parish too - much larger church, large Confirmation class. in their weekly bulletin there was an announcement that the Confirmation class would be assisting at a Sunday dinner for the homeless in our neighboring city. my girls latched onto that idea & off we were into a whole new world.

quick background on this Sunday dinner for the homeless...

it is a community service provided by a couple who are retired missionaries. they have not missed a Sunday in over 8 years. it started with the city's permission for them to pull their cargo trailer onto a vacant lot and serve hot dogs & soda out of the back to anyone who was in need. Pastor M. also read and preached on a passage from the Bible. this ministry has grown tremendously and now they are blessed to have churches & civic groups throughout the city taking turns on a rotating calendar - preparing yummy homemade things & providing people to set up, serve and clean up. a local pastor from an inner city church recently donated part of the church's land to the effort & his congregation pulled their resources to pour concrete slabs, build pavilions & add some basic amenities that now include an outdoor sink, electrical outlets, & a port-a-john. Yeah, Pastor J.!

we enjoyed our first experience helping & have been going ever since. the folks who join us are a rainbow of humanity. prior to doing this i had very little experience in the realities of their world (i did work for 2 years in an inner city hospital, but that is neutral ground compared to this).

i promised myself, the first time we helped, that i would look each person in the eye & offer a kind word to each person i served. i wanted to see past the reasons they were attending this dinner. i wanted to see the love in each one of them & i wanted them to know they are loved, not because of anything, just because they are.

i promised myself that i would hug whoever needed a hug, give accepting space to whomever needed it, & i prayed to say the words that needed to be said, in love. i love each & every one of them & i strive to convey this in that moment i have with them. & i pray for them everyday.

i love cooking for this group too. i have, over the years, fallen in to a seasonal routine with my recipies for them. the recipies have to be accomodating for a large group, but i feel very committed to making them something from my heart - seasonal, fresh, tasty ingredients. in the summer, by popular demand, this shrimp-lovin' crowd goes crazy for this week's what's cooking wednesday recipe. this past Sunday afternoon they enjoyed it & i hope you enjoy it too!

Shrimp & Pasta Salad
1 lb. shrimp, cooked & peeled
1/2 lb. cooked pasta (i prefer penne)

1/2 c. minced purple onion
1/2 c. diced sweet red pepper
1 c. tiny sweet peas (thaw, if frozen)

whisk together...
3-4 T. fresh lemon juice
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
4 T. fresh parsley, minced
1/2 c. chopped fresh basil
fresh ground salt & pepper to taste

pour olive oil mixture over the pasta/shrimp mix. toss well. chill, then serve.


susan said...

The recipe looks divine. But the story behind it is even better. Don't you just beam with pride at your girls for wanting to do that?

Joy T. said...

I really need to eat before visiting blogs that have food. My stomach is rumbling! This looks so good and I love the story behind it.

Terra said...

Be sure to make extra I will be over for dinner! lol

JennieBoo said...

Looks yummy, minus the meat...I'm a vegetarian

qualcosa di bello said...

susan...yes, I do! I am so glad to see my children desire to reach out to others.

joy...one of the things i do over breakfast in the summer is to peruse food blogs - my secret internet addiction ;)

terra...always room at the table!

jennie...you will be sitting with Little Man at the table - he does *not* do shrimp!

Shan said...

My apologies! I just realized that I left your link off of my post. Will correct that now. So sorry! Sleepy blogging is not a good idea.