Thoughts on Maundy Thursday

I am a child of autumn; I expect the world to be cool towards me, even chilly, and I am always looking out for the next winter storm. I am not an optimist, nor am I–unless I am really at ease–a touchy feely kind of person. But I do love spring, and I love to be warmed up.

Strangely enough, Maundy Thursday, Green Thursday, the Thursday of Holy Week, the week in the Western Christian year leading up to Easter, was always one of my favorite holidays. This might be mostly for the food, which is featured elsewhere, but is also because so much of the Last Supper distills what is best and most important to the Christian faith. In Germany, Easter in general and Green Thursday in particular is also a celebration of the return of life, of spring, to the world.

The old name—Maundy Thursday—derives from Old French or English corruptions of the first words of the Gospel scripture read at that nights Mass:

Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos.
A new commandment I give you, that you love each other as I have loved you.

It commemorates, it celebrates, the culmination of Jesus trying to train his disciples. One more time he tells them to love each other. He tries to reinforce that idea as he washes their feet and shares a meal with them. Love one another. There are legends that the longest living of those disciples, John, at the end of his life, said little more than “Little children, love one another!” The author of one of the Gospels could only summarize his and his master’s life work, his God’s message as Little children, love one another!

But loving is not a new commandment. Earlier in his career, Jesus had taught that all the law could be summarized as Love the Lord with all your heart, mind, etc., and Love your neighbor as yourself. “But who is my neighbor?” you might ask.

When I moved to Nashville, alone and much younger and scared than I could admit to myself, still raw and scarred from my first kidney transplant, it was a strange collection of lesbian and gay neighbors who first ate with me, kept me company and patched me up emotionally. Eventually, my neighbors were a rather strange but true Philosophy department which provided me with a home and great suppers, the staff of an LGBT newspaper I helped with printing and editorial work and with whom I talked almost daily, and the divinity student–deeply religious, yet always trying to act casually about their faith–who inhabited the Disciples Divinity House.
It was a convicted killer who became a good friend and was the best roommate I have ever had; it was a young couple I shared a house with, and lives with, and who taught me how to bake my own bread and honored us by asking us to god-parent their new daughter.

When we moved to Kentucky newly married, it was a wonderful small town congregation that gave us a place to stay and allowed us to be part of their lives. When we had a child, they sent us food—including a whole turkey and a 3-layer pink cake—as well as gentle support and advice. We shared lives with these neighbors, even burying some of them.
In Kentucky, it was also an odd pack of secular humanists at the University who nourished me, providing me with company, support, and even a couch to sleep on in an ice storm.

When I moved back to East Tennessee to wait for my second transplant, it was a quirky little congregation by Buffalo Creek that held me together, sharing a table with us, giving us a place to live and people to talk to. After my transplant, it was also a maintenance and grounds department staffed by North American, Korean, African, Eastern European and Indian seminarians who were neighbors to me.

Now, my literal neighbor is a retired High School coach and Baptist. When I felled a tree across his fence and into his yard, he ran out of his house, and his first concern was: “Are you OK?”
My neighbors are also a fascinating collection of booksellers and barristas who buoy me every day. When the unreality of seeing myself in an antique store sent me spinning, they were the ones I came home to.

Each of these neighbors has come into my life—often not by any choice I made—and has added to that life and made it infinitely richer; at some points, they even made life possible.

Love is a commandment, my Christian friends, but, for all of us, let me suggest that allowing yourself to love and to be loved is rewarding and enriching.Mundi Novum

I don’t know about heaven, my lovely ones, but when I am with you, I am back in a garden.

Peace be with you,

Dr. Bear

Eggs on the Lawn

trosly pigs 007This is one of my favorite recipes. In the part of Germany I spent my childhood, this was the dish that was traditionally served on Green Thursday, the Thursday of Holy Week. It was called “Eier auf die Wiese” which means “Eggs on the Lawn.” As you can see, the bed of greens looks like a lawn.

In my mind, because the German word for egg—“Ei”—sounds like the English word “Eye,” and because a cooked egg looks like an eye, I will always think of them as “Eyes on the Lawn.” I also love the combination of cheese and spinach. Another name for this dish is “Eggs Florentine with Mornay Sauce.”



  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 Tbsp finely diced Onion
  • 4 tsp Flour
  • 1 dash Salt
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 Tbsp grated Gruyère Cheese
  • 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Mess of Greens (Spinach is preferable, but you can also use others; traditionally, the German greens for this dish can also include the first wild greens of spring, such as dandelions, Sauer Ampfer and even Stinging Nettles. I started with fresh spinach and added some arugula, and some fresh clover and wild onion tops from the back yard)
  • 4 eggs


Step 1, a roux: Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the onion and soften a bit, then whisk in the flour, stirring and letting cook a few minutes until it thickens trosly pigs 003and starts to bubble, but not so long that it browns.

Step 2, dairy it up: Add the milk, and stir over a medium heat until smooth. Put in a bit of salt, and pepper if you like. Add the cheese.

Step 3, prepping the greens: In another pan, sauté the greens in a little bit of Olive Oil or Butter.

Step 4, egging it on: Poach 4 eggs. To do this, you can either poach 4 eggs in a pot of boiling water with a touch of white vinegar, and then set upon the greens, or break the eggs whole into the greens and cover until they have poached.

trosly pigs 005Step 5, prep and serve: garnish to plate and add a bit of the cheese sauce.

This is a simple dish, as is fitting for the holiday. Enjoy it with family or friends, perhaps with a bit of toast and a glass of sweet white wine.

Then go wash a strangers feet. What have you got to lose?

How do you teach Poetry?

I love poetry, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a class with a good poetry teacher. An infrmal survey around the store found this to be common, meaning that the only person who had not had a bad poetry teacher had never had a class about poetry.

Have any of you had good poetry teachers? How did they do it?
Do any of you teach poetry? How?

Why we need Poetry and Cheese

Cheese & Poetry 1

The last time I taught Plato, my students picked up on a passage I had never really paid any attention to before. In the third book of the Republic, Socrates and his listeners are discussing a hypothetical community (a Greek polis, or a republic, or a metaphor for the soul). Socrates is building this hypothesis from the ground up, and trying to keep it simple. Glaucon, with whom he is arguing, objects: “No luxuries?” Socrates responds “I forgot; they’ll have salt and oil and cheese and figs, country herbs and acorns to roast by the fire.” Glaucon objects passionately, arguing that they will need real luxury goods, like imported sauces, fine furniture and concubines.
My students were kind of fascinated by the idea of there being an argument about what members of a community need to spice up their meals. I was fascinated by the idea that this argument came at an earlier point in a book that ends with Socrates exiling the poets because they couldn’t be trusted to tell the truth. Even Socrates, however, recognizes that we can’t just live on wheat and barley cakes; we need salt and olive oil, herbs and figs, and cheese.

There is nutrition, the need to just get something eaten in order to keep going, but there is also food that delights and amazes and makes everything better, food that is an experience in itself, food that makes you just want to stop and be in that moment and find joy in what you have just encountered.
For me, that is often cheese.

It does something that is simply remarkable. It is all produced in a very similar way—cow, goat or some other kind of milk—but it varies from country to country, region to region, and each is remarkable and wonderful in its own way.
The sharpness and character of a Sharp Cheddar, or the similar but different flavor of Red Leicester, the creaminess but surprising oddness of a Roquefort, the mellow smoothness but complex nuttiness of a firm Emmentaler, the rich butter taste of a Gouda or a Havarti, the smooth roundness of fresh Mozzarella as it complements the freshly sliced tomato, the sharp leaves of basil and the rich olive oil.

Each experience is more than just something to eat; it is something remarkable. It is joy condensed into a physical experience.
This experience might be a different food for you, but for me, it is cheese.
This experience is also of a form of beauty.

I am not sure I can define it, but I find it constantly, and it is one of my great joys, one of the things that keeps me going. As I usually do when I can’t quite explain something, let me tell you a story.

A few years ago, a dear sweet man whom I admired and loved passed away. No, this isn’t that kind of a story; Earl had lived a very long, very full life,  was surrounded by a huge loving family, was well thought of by most who knew him, was at peace with his world and his God, and so his passing on was not too tragic. All death is a sadness for those left behind, but he had not left a legacy of ghosts and wounds, but of love and love, and of music, so we celebrated his funeral with mixed sadness and joy.
At the funeral, one of his sons played the violin in tribute to his father, accompanied by his wife. They are both professional musicians, and incredibly talented, but what they produced was remarkable.

They played Ralph Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending.

For just one moment, time stood still.
That one moment I sat in awe.
It was too wonderful for words, a sensation too beautiful for thoughts.
The sounds around me were joy in the middle of sadness condensed into a physical experience.

I do not know much about larks. I do not know anything about souls or heaven.
But at that moment, I understood Earl’s soul rising to heaven,
like a lark ascending.

We live in a world of pain, but even more, a world of bleak grayness.
We need beauty.
We crave and we create beauty great and small, huge joys and little ones; we need beauty, we need poetry and we need cheese.

We need to hear of the eternal voyage from Homer:

“Sing to me of the man, Muse,
the man of twists and turns,
driven time and again off course,
once he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy.
Many cities of men he saw and learned their minds,
many pains he suffered, heartsick on the open sea,
fighting to save his life and bring his comrades home.
But he could not save them from disaster, hard as he strove –
the recklessness of their own ways destroyed them all,
the blind fools, they devoured the cattle of the Sun
and the Sun god blotted out the day of their return. . . .”

We need the call to human adventure and exploration from Whitman:

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.

The earth, that is sufficient,
I do not want the constellations any nearer,

I know they are very well where they are,
I know they suffice for those who belong to them.

(Still here I carry my old delicious burdens,
I carry them, men and women, I carry them with me wherever I go,
I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them,
I am fill’d with them, and I will fill them in return.)”

The disjointed sensuousness of e.e. cummins:

somewhere i have never travelled,
gladly beyond any experience,
your eyes have their silence: in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

Echoing Schiller, I would say that this is joy condensed into an experience with words; even the joy of a poem that makes us ache and weep allows us to walk drunk with fire.

A good bit of cheese, the first bite of summer’s home grown tomato, a poem, a piece of music–each time we encounter them, each of them transport us like a first kiss. They are like the first spring sunshine upon whatever makes up the human psyche. They nourish us. Joy nourishes us to allow us to be who we should be. Beauty nourishes us to make us who we should be, and even what we might be. It helps us to find that which goes beyond good; it suggests better.

Welsh Rarebit

trosly pigs 024This is a very basic, but wonderful, cheddar cheese sauce which I first encountered in Illinois, where it is the main ingredient in a Horseshoe Sandwich. The sauce itself is fairly simple, but incredible, and can be used in a variety of ways.

(Note: I realize that for many of you, next week will include that important yearly holiday, the celebration of the beginning of the newest Dr. Who season, so I considered posting my Tardis Cookie recipe. However, Cheese is a theme this week. I will, however, post them eventually, I promise.)

trosly pigs 023

By the way, this is what the bottom drawer of my fridge looks like:



  • ½ 12 oz Bottle of Beer
  • 1 lb. grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese (we used half Kerrygold Dubliner & half Cabot’s Seriously Sharp)
  • Pinch (scant 1/8 tsp?) mustard powder
  • Dash Worchester Sauce
  • Dash Onion Powder
  • Dash Paprika
  • ¼ tsp Corn Starch


Step 1, heat it up: In a small saucepan, whisk the corn starch into a half a bottle of beer, and then bring the mixture to a boil. Be careful, because it will foam.
I’ve made this with several beers, and it is best if it is something with strong flavor, like a porter, but without the bitter overtones of a stout; experiment and find something you like. Most recently, I used Killian’s Red, but last Sunday, I went down to the Green Man Brewery in Asheville, and they are now bottling their porter, with is very smooth, and which I can recommend.

Step 2, a little spice: Stir in the mustard, the Worchester sauce, the onion powder, and the paprika.

Step 3, the cheese: A handful at a time, add in and dissolve the cheddar cheese. The end result should be thick and bubbly.

Step 4, serve: There are a variety of uses for rarebit.

trosly pigs 025When she was in for spring brake, my amazing daughter & I made it to dip home-made soft pretzels in.

Traditionally, it is served over two pieces of toast which are Hidden Egg & Welch Rarebitthen broiled slightly as a light supper (in place of rabbit). As a variation on this, I cut a hole in a thick piece of bread, put it in a skillet with a little butter, broke an egg in the whole, fried it over easy, and then served it with the rarebit.

trosly pigs 019I also use it as my sauce for home-made macaroni & cheese, since I don’t particularly care for most home-made macaroni & cheese.

As I mentioned, it is an ingredient in a Springfield Illinois style Horseshoe Sandwich. More than anything else, though, the Rarebit Sauce is amazing with French fries.

I literally would not care to correct your English.

Dr. BearHey, all my Grammar Maven friends!
Under what circumstances is it acceptable to correct someone’s language?

By this, I mean grammar, syntax, misunderstood or misused vocabulary, mispronunciations, pronouncing silent letters, words inappropriate to polite society, etc.

If it is a proper occasion, how ought one do so?

My motto, my creed

My dear friends & gentle readers,
I have, unfortunately, had a cold this week, and, quite fortunately, a house guest, and am, as usual, running a little behind.

being right

I thought this would be a good time to discuss my motto: “Being right is no excuse for sloppy thinking; neither does it excuse unkindness or incivility.”
Originally, it grew out of a bad habit of mine in philosophy. I have generally found that I am much clearer, and argue much more effectively, when I am discussing, explaining or defending philosophical standpoints that I do not share, or ideas which I disagree with. Sometimes, this led to misunderstandings of what my actual positions were. At one particular point in my career, I found myself in a nest of Fichteans—not unlike a wasp nest, except that wasps do perform some sort of useful function in nature. I felt, and still feel, that Fichte’s early 19th century quest for transcendental foundations was misguided, and, even though it purports to be a logical part of the Kantian project…Wode_Toad

Yes, yes, Wode Toad, I know, but…

So, I found that it was difficult to argue against this position on how the mind shapes thought based in a very abstract German Idealism (the heirs of the German thinker Emmanuel Kant), and argue for a position on how the mind shapes thought based in observation of how humans actually function in human cultures and societies (the heirs of the German thinker Johann Gottfried Herder). The root of my problem was that it just seemed so obvious that the way to discuss thought was to actually pay attention to how human beings –in practice—think. Eventually, I asked myself “What would Herder do?” and left historical philosophy for social philosophy.

But, to begin a sentence with a conjunction, while I was still in the thick of this debate, and to remind myself that I still had to carefully argue for and defend the obvious, I put a sign up in my office that read:

“Being Right is No Excuse for Sloppy Thinking!”

A little later, I found myself as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for a wonderful Ethics professor, and was suddenly responsible for 124 students in a Professional Ethics class. The prof, a scrappy East Coast, Irish-American, ex-nun who also raised horses with her partner, was decidedly liberal—not radical, but liberal. One of the brighter students was a young Southern Baptist who had just returned from 2 years of missionary work, and he was, as you might expect, decidedly conservative.
At first, I found myself in the rather odd position of a referee. However, at some point early in the class, I was able to take him aside and sell him on the idea that if he was actually right, then he should be able to prove his ideas—or, at least, present and defend them in such a way as to meet her & philosophy’s standards. I shared my motto, telling him that “Being Right is No Excuse for Sloppy Thinking!” Because Baptists are, for the most part, good modernists and believe in absolute truth, and believe in the idea that truth is, at least in part, knowable and defendable, he accepted that position. As a result, he worked harder and— strangely enough—began to pay better attention to her actual positions, especially the ones he disagreed with. Neither of the two, of course, actually changed their opinions, but both of them started taking the other seriously.

However, there is more to life that rational argument. Many folks seem to believe that if they are right, that also gives them some sort of right and dominion to not care about the other human being them encounter during the average day. Our lives are filled with all sorts of interactions with our fellow human beings—some big and significant, others smaller and less so. Because we are human, we tend to pepper these interactions with kindness and cruelty, civility and rudeness, generosity and sullenness, hospitality and aloofness, patience and impatience, humor and ill-temper. For reasons I cannot explain, although I have given a great deal of thought to the matter, those who believe themselves in possession of some sort of absolute truth seem to be much less patient, and much more inclined to lash out at the rest of us. Once, during a communion meditation, I asked what it is about going to church on Sunday morning that makes Christians the most disagreeable customers to deal with on Sunday afternoon (something asked by almost all of my friends in retail or food).
I understand the temptation of being impatient with fools who do not understand what you understand or know what you know. Who hasn’t, at some point, wanted to, just yell:

You idiots! How can you not see the difference between Yams and Sweet Potatoes! They aren’t the same species; they aren’t even the same family or genus! They aren’t even from the same hemispheres! It’s not a subtle difference only clear to specialists like the designated hitter rules in the American and National Leagues, or the doctrinal differences between Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and the various Protestant denominations; this is a real, tangible difference! One is a monocot and the other is a dicot!

(Ok, maybe not that, but you get the idea. Insert your own personal hobby-horse, political view point or grammatical pet peeve here.)

The point is, each of us knows some things that other people do not know; each of us is right about something that somebody else is wrong about.

Wode Toad would like to point out that “impact” is not a verb, that you need to use your turn signal before you change lanes, that corporations Wode_Toad2should have reasons for making major changes like removing furniture, that electronic readers and lime in beer are both despicable, don’t even get him started on the difference between a Caffè Macchiato and a Latte Macchiato, and that you should always use the Oxford comma and always write a letter back when you receive one!
Wode Toad says: “thank you for listening.”

Being right about something doesn’t make us better; it gives us an obligation, a Noblesse Oblige, to help those who need that knowledge or to share it with those who would benefit by it. Being right does not excuse us from being kind or civil; it is precisely we who are right who should know better.

Perhaps there is a bit of an ironic tone to my motto, but I am confident in its truth, so confident that I do try to live by it. I am too old, and have spent way too much time among us mortals to have much confidence in our claims to be absolutely right. If it is possible to be completely right, it seems probable that clear, critical thinking, kindness and civility might bring us closer.

Regardless of being right, I am confident that clear thinking, kindness and civility bring us closer to being good, and that just might be all right for now.315signature

Robert’s French Bread

Basic French Bread Recipe

BaggettesThis is a basic “water dough,” meaning its main ingredients are flour, yeast and water.  This makes a great, crisp bread, but the absence of oil also means it may go stale more quickly. This can be formed into the traditional long skinny bagguettes, the shorter rounder boule,  thick long italian loafs, or small petite pain or brötchen.



3 cups warm water
a pinch of sugar (optional, oh ye of little faith)
2 Tbsp. Yeast (maybe 3 envelopes?)
1Tbsp. Salt
7 cups, give or take, of bread flour (6+ cups); Yeah, yeah, I don’t have an exact amount because there isn’t an exact amount–I live in a very humid, even damp, part of the country, if you are actually dry, you will need less flour.
Possibly a bit of olive oil, corn meal and vinegar as tools for the preparation.

A note on flour: Although I am casual about what flour you use on other breads, I strongly recommend King Arthur Bread Flour. Imitating European bread requires a flour that imitates European flour. European flour comes from a specific type of hard red wheat which is easier to grow in New England because of the similar climate and latitude.

Step 1, Proofing: Put the first 2 cups of hot water in a large bowl (or the mixer bowl if you plan on letting the bread hook to do the heavy lifting). This can actually be hot, since it will warm the bowl, and since there are several things which will go on before it comes in contact with the yeast. In a 1 1/2 or 2 cup pyrex measruing cup or a mason jar, add one cup of warm water, a pinch of sugar (the yeast actually can get its sugar from the flour, so this isn’t necessary, but I have trust issues), and whisk until the sugar is disolved. Add the 2 Tbsp. of Yeast and whisk until smooth. Set aside.

Step 2, Adding flour: Return to the other bowl and whisk the salt into the 2 cups of water. Slowly sift–yes, sift–in the first 2 cups of flour–whisking in each 1/2 cup until it is smooth. By the time this batter–and the consistency will be like a batter–is starting to get stiff, the yeast mixture should have strted foaming up, and might be about to overflow. Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until smooth Sift in another cup or so of flour a little at a time, until the mixture is almost too thick for the whisk. At this point, take out the whisk and leave this in a warm place for 5 minutes and walk away. Fold laundry, have a glass of wine, play with the dog, try to figure out where you put the rest of the bread flour, dance, just leave the yeast alone.

Step 3, Kneading: Come back to Erin, Mavourneen, Mavourneen. If it is bigger, and a little poofy, the yeast is doing great. If not, either you have bad yeast or a cold spot. Continue to sift in the Bread Flour 1/4 of a cup at a time, and thoroughly mix it in; at this point, I would be using a big wooden spoon, when this is too hard, use a mixer with a bread hook or turn it our onto a floured surface.
It is important to knead the flour in 1/4 of a cup at a time, and after each bit of flour, hook or knead the bread until it becomes one thing again–not a mixture of flour and dough, but one unit. When the dough is a single round thing holding on to itself and not sticking to other things, behaving about like a deflated volley ball, it is ready. Until the sandwich laves, the doaugh should still be a little sticky, but it should be a ball that feels sticky, not doough that leaves the group , breaks apart, and sticks to your hands in large globs. The amount of the flour doesn’t matter–getting it to this proper consistency is what matters. Roll it around on the counter for good measure.

Step 4, Rising: Grease a smooth bowl 3 times as big as the dough. Roll the dough ball in the oil, and then cover with plastic wrap or a wet towel or something that will let it slip without drying out. Let this sit in in a warm place–in the oven with a heating pad on a different shelf, on the sunny side of the house, just a safe and warm place–until the dough has doubled in size. Usually, this will be about an hour.

Step 4, Second Rising:  Turn the dough out onto a clean surface, and punch it down (forcefully knead it), which should reduce it to close to its original size. Separate this into 3 portions ( or 4 or… you figure it out) and shape these into loaves; make sure that there are not seams or spots the loaf might separate, maybe pinching loose edges and rolling it about a bit–each should be smooth and coherent–it’s own little self.

Step 5, Second Rising: Prepare baking sheets for the loaves you have just formed. If the sheets have a good non-stick surface like my bagguette pans, just spray with a little bit of oil, or, on a baking sheet, you can spray a little bit of oil the size of each loaf and sprinkle a bit of corn meal. Put each loaf onto a baking sheet, cut crossways slits along the top with a sharp knife (this lets bubbles out) and set these into a warm place until they have grown–usually less that the first rise. about half way through this rise (20? 25 minutes?) pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Step 6, Baking: Just before putting them in the oven, I usually spary a light misting of vinegar on the outside of each loaf. This adds to the crunchiness of the crust. You can also add a little pan of water to the bottom of the oven, since the steam will also make the crust crustier. Put the loaves in the oven for 15 minutes, rotate them, putting bread from the lower racks onto the top, turning the backs to the front, etc.until the top crust is a nice dark brown. figure out your oven, and see if you need to turn them or rotate them to get them to cook evenly. When they are done, get them out, take them out of the pans, and put them on a cooling rack.
If everything has gone well, they should smell as golden as all that is right about the material world, and about a minute later you shoulod be able to hear la chanson du pain, the song of the bread, that tinkling little cracking noise as the bread cools.

Last Step, Sharing: This one should be shared quickly. You should share one loaf with baggettes2a warm loved one and some cold butter before it even cools. Another loaf will be perfect with some olive oil and pasta and salads and a rich Chianti for supper. a little loaf will be perfect with some sharp cheddar, a hard boiled egg, a whole tomato, a dill pickle and some branston pickle for a plow-man’s lunch at work. Most importantly, if you have extra bread, you will have to give it away, but–with this bread–quickly. It is perfect with a bottle of wine as a house warming gift or in lieu of a condolence card for seomone who has lost a loved one, or to hang on a door knob for a friend to find when they get home from work, or for the host for the evenings vespers, or to share with a college student or wandering monk.

What?!? Robert late? Inconceivable!

My dear friends,
I have, unfortunately, had a head cold this week, and, quite fortunately, a house guest, and am, as usual, running a little behind. My correspondence, such as it is, is three or four letters behind, and this weekly post, such as it is, is about 10 hours behind, and will appear at some point Friday.