This week I returned home after the craziness of World Youth Day in Krakow. This is where over 3 million young Catholics (different sources quote different numbers but I’m taking the largest one because I have never felt so claustrophobic in my life) from all over the World gathered in Krakow for a week of Pilgrimages, Masses, Catecheses, a Papal visit, and rowdy chanting crowds. Spare a thought for the poor residents of Krakow who didn’t get out while they could.
I never thought that something like this could bring me so much closer to God, but by Jove it did. My eyes have been opened to His incredible mercy and goodness and to the dedication and holiness of young people in the world today. And they say that “young people aren’t interested in religion”. Pffft.
I needed a good 3 days in bed once it was all over, which allowed me to catch up on some of life’s subtler pleasures: YouTube, Pinterest, and Bloglovin’. I’ve also begun reading The Master and Margherita by Bulgakhov which has further solidified my love for Russian literature and literary craftmanship, something that I first realised when I read Pale Fire by Nabokov earlier this year. But I digress; here’s a roundup of internet highlights that you should check out:
Being home for the holidays means that I have unlimited access to the heavy duty food processor, and storage room for industrial bags of nuts ordered from Amazon. I’ve become addicted to making nut butters from scratch and have been experimenting with flavours; honey & cashew; raisin, cinnamon & almond; salted peanut. Currently in the pantry is boring and plain almond butter but it is amazing how much more marzipan-y it is compared with the store-bought jars. If you feel like following suit then this article with tell you everything you need to know about making your own nut butters.
The weather has been heating up in England and this salad with fresh coriander capitalised on that. I always forget that salads son’t necessarily need to have leaves.
Believe me when I say that this cauliflower dahl curry was absolute perfection. It was so well received that I made it for dinner two days on the trot. And I would do it again.
I have earmarked this creamy miso pasta over and over, so fingers crossed that I’ll make it next week. Wherever there is a recipe that includes caramelised brussel sprouts you know it’s going to be a winner, and I am so keen to try a dish that uses soaked cashews as a base as it seems to be everywhere right now.
Of course, after a trip to Poland I need to have a Polish-inspired recipe. Yes these gingerbread biscuits that we call “pierniki” are slightly Christmassy but why should we limit ourselves? For a variation on the very traditional sugar coating, melt both dark and white chocolate to dip these beauties into.
Even if you’re not one of those people who turns to science to improve their lives, this is something worth reading.
Coffee is a culture. Many people claim that they can’t function without a steaming americano in the morning, and while it’s true that caffeine stimulates the central nervous system by antagonising inhibitory adenosine receptors located on neurones the article makes a good observation about when its action will be most effective.
With health professionals, dentists, and health gurus alike telling us to cut down on our caffeine intake the answer isn’t to eliminate coffee and tea from our diets completely, but to limit consumption to the time of day when we naturally need a boost, there is no need to feel guilty about an afternoon cappuccino and cake.
Quite a touching and sentiment-provoking article in The New Yorker revisited Michelle and Barack Obama leaning towards an uncertain future in politics. At the brink of Obama’s exit from the White House, the figurehead of The Land of Opportunity, it is easy not to recognise that this man is human. Like his policies or not, this man put himself into the public sphere with the intention of changing the world for the better.
But what really strikes me is Barack and Michelle’s partnership. I read a quote from the latter a couple of weeks ago:
“Marriage is hard work. Even the best of marriages require a lot of work — even if you’re married to your soulmate.”
The pair are human – in their private as well as public life – but Obama agrees that they are soulmates, and his eloquence in expressing how that feels is beautiful:
I’m extremely happy with her, and part of it has to do with the fact that she is at once completely familiar to me, so that I can be myself and she knows me very well and I trust her completely, but at the same time she is also a complete mystery to me in some ways. And there are times when we are lying in bed and I look over and sort of have a start. Because I realize here is this other person who is separate and different and has different memories and backgrounds and thoughts and feelings. It’s that tension between familiarity and mystery that makes for something strong, because, even as you build a life of trust and comfort and mutual support, you retain some sense of surprise or wonder about the other person.
This visual diary that appeared in Darling magazine gave me such a longing to travel the world and to immerse myself in a culture, to get lost in streets, and to eat food whose ingredients are unfamiliar. I’m currently collecting ideas for a place to spend my Medical Elective placement in a few years and maybe Trinibago is now near the top of the list?
Finally, a critical but insightful look at the biblical writings of St. Paul attempts to address the apparent sexism with which he approached the roles of the man vs. the woman. As a Catholic, less emphasis is placed in bible study compared to many other denominations, but that does not mean that we have no interest in scripture. We can only improve.
So reading this article from Magnify, the Christian Women’s Magazine, it was interesting not only to read the much quoted explanation: St. Paul was writing in the cultural context of his time and was therefore quite progressive, but also the claim that he was addressing very specific complaints voiced against women who did not – as was the norm – have an education.
“…when he says women should be silent, he is writing a letter to the Corinthians and is actually addressing a particular complaint that had been made about certain women interrupting the preaching. Elsewhere in his writings, women are encouraged to speak and are praised for their active role within the church. Since women were at this point far less educated than men, he did not want them to speak in ignorance, but instead receive the same teaching as men in order to engage with them as equals.”
While I feel that this theory has not much empirical evidence, I am in no doubt that scripture can always be interpreted according to it’s author. Since God did not dictate scripture, but instead gave the writer special grace to aid him in his work, it means that the voice of the bible is affected by each man’s background, cultural environment, education. Yosola’s piece is a great comfort to me and many others who have been angered, upset, or disturbed by passages of The Bible.
On that note, friends, I’ll finish. This blog post has taken the best part of five hours to write but hopefully next week, a greater familiarity with my computer and with writing will allow me to give all my recommendations in 4 hours.