With summer in full swing, my mind returns to memories of simpler times. Growing up as a Baptist in the South meant summers spent amongst friends and family. Every Wednesday evening, my grandfather (then the pastor of Bee Cave Baptist Church) would bring the church community together beneath the live oaks to sing the old gospel hymns and share in the culinary creations of a fellowship in faith. These gatherings formed the foundations of my childhood and developed my appreciation for small churches and their ministry of hospitality. Every church has its version of dinner on the grounds. Potlucks are a way to express our love to one another, bringing our most treasured recipes, often passed down generation after generation, as gifts to the people who week after week share in our worship and sustain our spirit. Food calls us to know one another. I bet you can remember the wonderful dishes at your church events and the people who made them. Perhaps not every recipe is as heartily devoured as the next. How does one choose between eight varieties of green bean casserole? Not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings, I’d always take a little of each and stir them together. Now I realize that in doing so, I was tasting the mixture of my church’s diversity in a single bite. And, to my surprise, it tasted better than any did alone. This is where the message of the sermon reaches the real world connection between people in a community of faith. We shared our bounty of food and wisdom over the dinner table. We completed each other in both meal and conversation. So, this summer, I call you to come to the table and unite as one. Put down your phones and look into the faces of your brothers and sisters in Christ. Reflect on what really matters most, and let go of all the differences that so often divide us. Come together and remember the joys of childhood, the fervor of belief, and the peace of belonging. Taste, the Lord is good.
(Be sure to steer clear of Mrs. Howell’s chicken and mayonnaise brownies, though. She loves Jesus, but she drinks a bit.)
1 cup mayonnaise ½ cup chopped onion
½ cup grated Parmesan sliced pepperoni
1 can artichoke hearts paprika
Mix mayonnaise, Parmesan,, onion, and artichoke hearts together. Sprinkle with paprika and top with sliced pepperoni.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Serve with Triscuits.
Ritz Chicken Casserole
2 pkgs Ritz crackers 1 pint sour cream
3 -4 chicken breasts 5 – 6 chicken thighs
3 cans cream of mushroom soup
Boil chicken until cooked, approximately 20 minutes.
Tear chicken off bone into bite sized pieces.
While chicken is cooking, mix together soup and sour cream.
Set aside. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9X13X2 pan, and
crush one package of crackers into the bottom. Place chicken pieces onto crackers. Pour soup/sour cream mixture on top.
Cover with remaining crackers. Bake at 350 degrees for
20 – 25 minutes.
Glazed Honey Bars
1 beaten egg 1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar ½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup oil 1 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup honey 2 cups sifted flour
Mix and bake in a 9X13 pan at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.
Mix 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tbsp water, and 2 tsp vanilla extract. Spread on top of hot bars.