“Leeked” Out — the Truth about Onions! (Angel in the Kitchen)

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Life, love, and leeks. What do they have in common? Glad you asked.

Leeks belong to the Allium genus of plants, which includes garlic, chives and onions. Since the onion is the most versatile and popular of these pseudo-veggies — sorry, dear friend Garlic! — and has an infamous reputation for being able to bring tears to the eyes of even the toughest of us, we’ll examine onions in today’s post.

Aaaaahhh-cheew! Sniff! Please pass me an onion.

Onions are chock full of Vitamin C, B1, B6, Potassium and fiber. George Washington used to chow down on a raw onion whenever he felt a cold coming on. We’re not sure if it warded off the cold, but it sure kept Martha away!

Trivia time: Way back in 1648, what was the first thing the Pilgrims planted in the New World? It certainly wasn’t corn or pumpkins. And although Europeans brought their onions with them to North America, Native Americans already knew all about onions: they used them in cooking, medicinal poultices, and dyes!

Athletes in Ancient Greece ate lots of onions, believing they “balanced” the blood. Roman gladiators were rubbed down with onion juice to firm up their muscles, and in the Middle Ages, people could even pay their rent with onions. And doctors frequently prescribed onions to relieve headaches, coughs, snakebite and hair loss. And get this, the ancient Egyptians actually worshipped the onion! They believed its spherical shape and concentric rings symbolized eternal life.

Hi there, you!

Which reminds us, we promised to compare onions to life and love, didn’t we? Let’s list some similarities. First, like life and relationships (the “love” part of our post), the onion takes many differing forms. There are common onions, available in three colors (yellow onions, red onions, white onions). There are wild onions, spring onions, scallions, and pearl onions. Onions come fresh, frozen, dehydrated, and canned. They can be chopped, pickled, caramelized, minced, and even granulated. All this variety, all this utility, reminds us of the diverseness of relationships, and the many turns that life can take.

And like an onion, life and people have multiple layers. Our experiences in this world are like periodically peeling back another layer of the “onion” to reveal new mysteries, new opportunities, new lessons. And the same can be said of relationships: in order to truly get to know someone — and to fully understand why we do the strange, idiosyncratic things that we all do — we again need to peel back the layers that insulate people from people.

Onions and Life are fascinating and many splendored things! So are onions and people!

“How numerous are your works, LORD! You have made them all wisely; the earth is filled with your creations.” (Psalm 104:124 ISV)

Thursday, we’ll discuss why peeling back the layers of life and relationships is exactly like cutting into an onion!  Tune in for more Kitchen Wisdom about Life, Love and Leeks — er, onions!

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A Place at the Table (Angel in the Kitchen)

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This puts us in the mood for Christmas in July!

We enjoy having guests over for lunch or dinner and, in anticipation of our guests, we usually decorate the table with a theme. One of our favorite themes is song birds. So our guests tend to be greeted by a table adorned with dinnerware embellished with cardinals, chickadees and goldfinches, along with color-coordinated placemats and tiny birds that are actually place-card holders — each one proudly displaying the name of an honored guest. We’re not trying to be “fancy”; we’re trying to make our guests feel special. And when they see the preparations, and their names displayed, their faces light up with big smiles.

Place-cards and place-card holders date back to Edwardian times, but were popularized during the Victorian Era. Place-cards served several purposes: in earlier days, social ranking was important to people —  not like today, we hope! — and people were seated in order of their ranking, which was based on age, economics and other factors affecting social standing (such as military or civil positions). Ahem, yes, quite so!

Place-cards were also used to ensure guests were suitably matched to a person of similar temperament and interests, hence promoting social interaction and ensuring no one felt uncomfortable or got left out of a conversation. We actually approve of this particular use of place-cards, because in general, we go out of our way to make each guest feel at home and to involve them in easy conversation.

A third use of place-cards was a bit more devious, and it involved the romantic schemes of the hostess, who imagined that male bachelor guest “A” would really hit it off with unmarried female guest “B”! The matchmaking intentions of the hostess no doubt being a nice wedding to attend, followed by christenings for future children “C” through “F”! We would never stoop to such shenanigans. At least, we’d never confess to it.

But really, our personal reasons for having place-cards is solely to make our guests feel welcome and extra-special. Imagine, you walk to a table covered with cheery decorations, and next to one of the place-settings is a card with your name inscribed upon it. What do you think? Our hope is that you would immediately realize several things: first, that you were purposely invited — you’re not an afterthought, a last minute addition, just someone we allowed to pull up a chair.

We want you to know we intended for you to be here. It was always in our plans to have you dining at our table. And because it was always in our plans, we made special preparations just for you! When you see your place-card, you realize we have a seat picked out just for you, a special place reserved for you that no one else is going to take. IT. HAS. YOUR. NAME. ON. IT!!

Is your name here?? We hope so!

Heaven is like a big dining table with place-cards. “‘Blessed are those who are invited to the lamb’s wedding banquet.'” (Revelation 19:9 GOD’S WORD) Each “place-card” has the name of a special guest God has invited to dine with Him. These names also appear on His guest list, “written in the Lamb’s book of life…” (Revelation 13:8 NIV)

Our Heavenly Father wants us to feel welcome. He wants us to know that we’re not an afterthought; we were always in His plans. God made special arrangements for each of us. He wants us to realize that He has set aside a special place for each of us. We have a reserved seat in His kingdom, a special chair at His table — a spot with our name on it! “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:3 NASB)

Even Hobbits have a place at the table!

We hope you’re on God’s guest list; that He’s inscribed your name on a place-card. Of course, you have to let the Lord know you’re ready to attend — by allowing Jesus Christ to redeem you. (And we all need redemption!)

“For God loved the world so much that he gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NLT)

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