I know it’s not Lent, but it IS Friday after celebrating the glorious canonization of the great “Saint of the Gutters”, Mother Teresa. Consider making this typical dinner with which she used to feed the poorest of the poor in Calcutta/Kolkata. It actually looks pretty good and I bet my kids will even eat it. BONUS: The spice turmeric is even a POWERHOUSE for fighting cancer.
God is so good!
Here’s a suggested menu, and the simple recipe for the cooked main dish. (I understand that at one stage the nuns of the Missionaries of Charity were cooking 5,000 meals like this for the poor and destitute in Calcutta daily!)
Khitchri (a rice and lentil gruel)
Sliced onion or cucumber, or a pickle
THE RECIPE FOR KHITCHRI (serves 6 – 8)
(Ingredients: oil, onion, rice, red lentils, potatoes, frozen peas, powdered turmeric, pepper balls and salt).
In a little olive/sunflower oil (or melted unsalted butter for greater flavor) sauté a finely sliced white onion.
Add 1½ cups of rice and 1 cup of lentils, washed well together (rinsed several times).
Add enough water to cover the rice and lentils, along with 6 small peeled and diced potatoes, one teaspoon of turmeric powder, one teaspoon of salt, and 12 – 18 pepper balls.
Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, and add half a cup of frozen peas.
Keep cooking, covered, on low heat, checking and stirring occasionally (to make sure it’s not sticking or burning), and adding a little water from time to time as needed, until the potatoes are softened and the rice and lentils are about the consistency of a sloppy porridge.
Serve with one (for frugality) boiled egg per diner, along with a few (again, for frugality) slices of white onion (or red onion for more taste) and/or a few slices of cucumber and/or a spoonful of pickle (mango/lime ideal). And a simple glass of water to wash it down.
(1. This recipe is suitable for all ages, although for children/babies in particular – and even perhaps for adults – you’ll want to remove the pepper balls when serving. 2. If you do have kids, you’ll definitely want to get them “involved” in the cooking this special meal for the special night. It’ll help them to remember the occasion and its message in this terrible me-me-me world of today, and hopefully help to develop in them a genuine/abiding and indeed *redemptive* love and care for their less fortunate brothers and sisters in this world. The millions who have next to nothing to eat, and no place to lay their heads.)
SPIRITUAL ADDENDUM FOR CHRISTIANS
1. Add this prayer (one of Mother Teresa’s favorites, attributed to St Francis of Assisi) to the Grace before the meal:
make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.
2. Add this prayer (another of Mother’s favorites) to the Grace after the meal:
help me to spread Your fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with Your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly,
that my life may only be a radiance of Yours.
Shine through me,
and be so in me,
that every soul I come in contact with
may feel Your presence in my soul.
Let them look up and see no longer me,
but only Jesus!
Stay with me
and then I shall begin to shine as You shine,
so to shine as to be a light to others.
The light, O Jesus
will be all from You;
none of it will be mine;
it will be You,
shining on others through me.
Let me thus praise You the way You love best,
by shining on those around me.
Let me preach You without preaching,
not by words
but by my example,
by the catching force of the sympathetic influence of what I do,
the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to You.