Sunday, November 20, 2011

Will There Be Pizza In Heaven?

Do you know the song The Devil Went Down To Georgiaby the Charlie Daniels Band? Click on the link to listen to the song or let me tell you the abridged version. As the story goes the Devil is a little short on souls so he ventures down to Georgia and comes up on a fiddler named Johnny. The Devil decides to wager his own skill as a fiddler against Johnny's ability. The bet is a golden fiddle against Johnny's soul. As the story goes, the Devil puts forth an outstanding performance but Johnny comes back with a rebuttal that is beyond outstanding and the Devil admits defeat and relinquishes his golden fiddle.

Let's just pretend that the wager is not playing the fiddle but instead has to do with the construction of a wonderfully palatable pizza. Now that is a contest almost but probably not quite worth someones soul.

Anyway, I have been working on constructing an outstanding pizza that can be built at home without any influence of the local pizza parlor. That has been a challenge that traditionally, the Devil might have had an easy victory.
Recently, however, I have come upon a significant breakthrough that could even up the playing fields as it were. I give the credit to two major break throughs in my culinary discovery. As it turns out, I have no knowledge regarding a palatable pizza crust. I mean that is the foundation of the pizza. In my book, no crust, no pizza. Simple, sad, but true.

Ok. Enter the pizza crust offered by Grand Central Bakery or even New Seasons Market. I've used both and had outstanding results. The next most important ingredient is the sauce. As it turns out, that isn't that difficult. I just take any can of tomato sauce and add appoximately a tablespoon of dried parsley, a tablespoon of basil, and perhaps a tablespoon or so of oregeno. The secret ingredient is umami. Google that word. I'll make it easy for you. One ingredient that is pregnant with umami (don't forget to google the word; it's important) is anchovie paste. I add some anchovie paste to the tomato sauce. A tablespoon or so to a can of tomato sauce is sufficient to blow your tastebud's minds. After the crust and sauce, the rest of the pizza is completly subject to your own imagination. I have made a number of remarkably outstanding homemade pizzas and am convinced that the secret to pizza is number 1, the crust, number 2, the sauce, (look up the importance of umami) and number 3, your imagination.

Dude! Tonight included two more blow your mind pizzas.

Oh yeah, the simple answer to the original question? Heck yes!!! There's going to be pizza in heaven and like it or not, there is going to be anchovie paste in the sauce. Just sayin'.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Three Stranded Cord Is Not Easily Broken

Let me just bluntly state that though I am wholeheartedly in favor of marriage, I am not necessarily all that keen on being in attendance when they happen. I appreciate the stamp of approval that God and the State puts on the relationship but having to hang out during the ritual is kind of a bother to me. I go when I need to in order to encourage the new couple. I believe with all of my heart and mind that the vows are sacred and meant for a life time. You know, till death do us part. Anyway, I've been to two weddings this year, both of which were performed at Applegate Christian Fellowship in Ruch, Oregon. They were each involving family members. Unlike so many other weddings that I have witnessed, these were kind of interesting. The first one happened in July.

The cool thing about this wedding was that it was done in about 15 minutes. I don't know if the preacher just forgot or if he knew it would be a quickie, but he never even had us sit down after we rose for the bride coming down the aisle. You know what? I was cool with that. In fact, I appreciated it. Now the second wedding was just this last week. This one took just a little bit longer but it was still short as some weddings go.

I wanted to share some thoughts from this last wedding. I always describe this family as being a bit like geese. You know, we mate for life. My father remained married to my mother until death parted them. My wife's parents have remained married and faithful to each other from their wedding day until now.

The official at this last wedding referred to the ancient text from Ecclesiastes 4:12 "A chord of three strands is not easily broken."

The inference is that a relationship of two people with the active involvement of (the third strand) the Holy Spirit, is a relationship that can withstand any of the stresses that life can throw at it. He also profoundly spoke of the idea that once a person chooses to marry the person they love, it is time for them to forget all of that and choose to love the person they married. That is an ideal that I agree with wholeheartedly. I plan to choose that path for myself.

I was brokenhearted this week when I heard of a relationship that I had believed was scribed in stone had been shattered by selfish indulgence. Somehow the two strands of that marital bond and carelessly begun to ignore the third strand and the bond was allowed to break. It is a tragedy for which I grieve this evening.

Let me just implore you to not forsake the importance of that third strand. It will make or break the bond between you.