November 11, 2011

Shaker Shock

This morning I woke up with about a thousand ideas whizzing around in my head, but with no motivation to act on any of them.  So, after about an hour of my brain doing the slot machine whirl, I focused on one activity that appeared to be attainable.  What to make for dinner tonight.  For some reason, people (including me) focus on Friday and Saturday night dinner.  I suppose we want something out of the ordinary because it's the weekend.

So, I went to Google and typed in "What to eat on Friday night" ... and was disappointed to find that most people are locked into the usual shit.  Tacos, lasagna, spaghetti, shrimp scampi, etc.


I wanted something WAY out of the ordinary, and for some reason, my mind went back to a post I wrote a while back on Mennonite food.  Well, just as I thought then, none of that stuff looked any good, so I did some free association and started wondering about Shakers (United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing) and if they had any good food.

And it turned out that Shakers were pretty interesting.  When I was a kid, my parents had friends who lived in Halltown, Missouri.  Their house was sort of overshadowed by a church across the street. We went to Halltown fairly often and the friend's kid and I would roam the town, but we were always hesitant to get near the church, because it was supposedly a Shaker church and Shaker's had dark powers.

Well, you know how full of shit little kids are.  It turned out that it wasn't a Shaker church, but the parishioners of whatever religious sect it was did worship Satan and eat babies.

Haha ... just kidding.  But they were pretty stern looking.

Anyway, I got into enough trouble when I tried to explain all about the Mennonites in one paragraph, so if you want to know all about Shakers, you'll have to go here.  But I did want to mention one thing. At the apex of Shaker society, there were about six thousand members.  Today, there are only three practicing Shakers in the United States, located in Sabbathday Lake, Maine.  Two gals and one guy.

Here's what the three of them do every day:

  • The day begins at 7:30 a.m.; the Great Bell on Dwelling House rings, calling everyone to breakfast.
  • At 8:00 a.m. morning prayers start. Two Psalms are read, then passages are read from elsewhere in the Bible. Following this is communal prayer and silent prayer, concluded with the singing of a Shaker hymn.
  • Work for the Shakers begins at 8:30.
  • Work stops at 11:30 for midday prayers.
  • Lunch begins at 12:00. This is the main meal for the Shakers.
  • Work continues at 1:00 p.m.
  • At 6:00 it is dinner time, the last meal of the day.
  • On Wednesdays at 5:00 p.m. they hold a prayer meeting which is followed by a Shaker Studies class.

Wow, and I thought my day was monotonous.

After I spent an hour reading about Shakers, I remembered that I had looked them up in the first place in order to find some cool recipes.  And as it turns out, they do have recipes ... and they even look edible.  But it looks like even the Shakers are slaves to typical Friday night fair, given that one of the recipes is named "Brother Arnold's Lasagna with Meat Sauce".  But the other stuff looked good enough to try on some other night besides Friday.

I didn't feel like looking up anymore religious sect's recipes, so I just went to the store this morning and winged it.  I just returned a little while ago, and what did I decide on?

Bratwurst, onion rings and ranchero beans.

Maybe I'll run up to the convenience store before dinner and get a 40 of Malt Liquor to wash it down with.  Bon Apetit!

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