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Archive for April, 2010

Easter wings

Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,
   Though foolishly he lost the same,
      Decaying more and more,
        Till he became
           Most poore:
           With  thee
        Oh let me rise
   As larks, harmoniously,
  And sing this day  thy victories:
Then shall the fall further the flight in me.

My  tender  age  in  sorrow   did   beginne:
   And still with sicknesses and shame
      Thou  didst  so  punish  sinne,
         That  I  became
           Most thinne.
           With  thee
        Let me combine
      And feel this day thy victorie:
   For,  if  I  imp  my  wing  on  thine
Affliction shall  advance the  flight in  me

–George Herbert

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Behold the Naked Lemon! Zested for our bread.

Every Easter my mother would be rummaging around in the vegetable drawer, as mothers are wont to do, and invariably a small wail of despair would emanate from her lips.

“There are NAKED lemons in my refrigerator!” Pause for calculation. “ALL my lemons are naked!”

This bothered her to no end. I myself was and remain unperturbed, even when I achieved my all-time maximum naked lemon count of 9. The sacrifice was worthy. Just as you cannot make an omelet with breaking some eggs, you cannot make many Easter breads with out stripping some lemons.

Indeed the the lemon with its fresh, sharp, bright taste appears to be associated in the European mind with Easter, from Milan to Moscow, from Vienna to Voerendaal, the lemon reigns supreme, challenged only by the equally delightful almond and the omnipotent anise.This makes sense. Though it is not the case for inhabitants of sun-kissed climes and though it may not seem like it too many us us dwelling in the fatness of unseasonable fruit and vegetables in our supermarkets, Easter is early spring in most the Northern Hemisphere (In the Southern of course it’s Autumn, but that’s a topic for another time.). There not a lot of fruiting vegetation about yet…so the lemon it is i it.

This suits me just find because lemon and almond are two of my favorite flavors, and I’m not hostile to the anise either. Mind you, it’s a bit of a chicken and the egg thing as Easter has always been, even since I was a wee tot, my favorite holiday. (What can I say? Liturgical fundamentalists are born as well as made.) But who cares? Both chicken and eggs are tasty, and so are almonds and lemons, Less chat, more eating please.

Now if you  are like my mother and fear the presence of naked lemons in refrigerator or are engaged in high speed baking, there is an alternative. Lemon oil, like that put out by the good people of Boyajian, works very well. Indeed, just yesterday at Sur La Table, my hand hovered over it…but I withdrew it. I have after all 6 more lemons in the refrigerator. Let them caper naked before the empty tomb of our Risen Lord!

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Turning My Face

GOOD-FRIDAY, 1613, RIDING WESTWARD.
by John Donne

LET man’s soul be a sphere, and then, in this,
Th’ intelligence that moves, devotion is ;
And as the other spheres, by being grown
Subject to foreign motion, lose their own,
And being by others hurried every day,
Scarce in a year their natural form obey ;
Pleasure or business, so, our souls admit
For their first mover, and are whirl’d by it.
Hence is’t, that I am carried towards the west,
This day, when my soul’s form bends to the East.
There I should see a Sun by rising set,
And by that setting endless day beget.
But that Christ on His cross did rise and fall,
Sin had eternally benighted all.
Yet dare I almost be glad, I do not see
That spectacle of too much weight for me.
Who sees Gods face, that is self-life, must die ;
What a death were it then to see God die ?
It made His own lieutenant, Nature, shrink,
It made His footstool crack, and the sun wink.
Could I behold those hands, which span the poles
And tune all spheres at once, pierced with those holes ?
Could I behold that endless height, which is
Zenith to us and our antipodes,
Humbled below us ? or that blood, which is
The seat of all our soul’s, if not of His,
Made dirt of dust, or that flesh which was worn
By God for His apparel, ragg’d and torn ?
If on these things I durst not look, durst I
On His distressed Mother cast mine eye,
Who was God’s partner here, and furnish’d thus
Half of that sacrifice which ransom’d us ?
Though these things as I ride be from mine eye,
They’re present yet unto my memory,
For that looks towards them ; and Thou look’st towards me,
O Saviour, as Thou hang’st upon the tree.
I turn my back to thee but to receive
Corrections till Thy mercies bid Thee leave.
O think me worth Thine anger, punish me,
Burn off my rust, and my deformity ;
Restore Thine image, so much, by Thy grace,
That Thou mayst know me, and I’ll turn my face.

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