Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Green Beans and Brown Sugar

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. . . Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.  Genesis 1:31-2:1 (NIV)

I wouldn’t have put them together.  I never would have imagined green beans and brown sugar in the same dish.  But that’s what the recipe called for, so I did as instructed, anxiously awaiting the results.  This was one part of our meal.  The other was Coca-chicken, which was very easy and very good.  It made me think of the BBQ chicken of my childhood, served with lots of sauce over white rice.  Even the kids didn’t complain too much – their equivalent of rave reviews.  I didn’t tell them there was sugar in the beans.

We don’t often blend together unlike things.  Last week, we heard the State of the Union address.  In an effort at reconciliation and courtesy, members of congress did not sit where they usually do – divided along party lines with an empty aisle buffering them.  Instead, they sat side by side with their opposite.  They chose to mix, to spend the evening with someone of different opinions and ideology, to keep company with a Hatfield or a McCoy.  While we have yet to see if similar civility can be shown in the legislative process, it is at least a start.

We can’t pin our partitioning only on our politicians.  It is human nature to stick with our own, and we do it in a lot of ways.  We are likely to live in a neighborhood with houses that are all of similar size and value.  Our neighbors will have a lot in common with us.  We will probably have similar incomes, similar ethnicities, similar lifestyles.  None of us ever planned to do it.  It’s just what we do; we hang with people who are like us.  We keep ourselves apart.

I think this is why some people are afraid to travel.  Things are different out there!  There is unusual food (that may or may not agree with us), unknown languages, unfamiliar surroundings and entirely different cultures.  Our uneasiness might keep us from flying around the world.  It also might keep us from travelling around the block.

Too often we avoid or even disdain what is unfamiliar.  We push away what challenges us.  Much easier to ignore the world and all its people on our doorstep than deal with the questions they make us ask ourselves.  But sometimes, unexpected things can go together.  Or better still: they can go with us.

When we work too hard to maintain our space of comfortable familiarity, then we build a wall between us and the wonderful diversity of our world.  If, however, we can make some room for the unfamiliar, then our world expands to let in amazement and delight of all of the people and things that God created.  That doesn’t sound like a bad deal to me.

So I will keep cooking green beans with brown sugar, and I will try to keep my door cracked to let in the strange unknown.  May we all embrace it with courage.

Blessed Eating!

Sweet Garlic Beans
½ lb. bacon                       3 cans green beans
½ c. brown sugar              1 t. garlic powder
Cook bacon until crisp.  Drain.  Pour leftover bacon grease into a 2 qt. saucepan and add beans, sugar and garlic.  Cook uncovered until most of the liquid is gone.  Crumble the crisp bacon to serve on top. 
4 chicken breasts, boneless & skinless         1 cup catsup
12 oz. diet cola
Put chicken breasts in skillet (might be nice to brown them in Pam a bit), mix cola & catsup (& I add some garlic & Worcestershire sauce) & pour over chicken.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer covered 30 minutes.  Uncover, turn up heat till sauce thickens.  Serve over rice.  Sally Johnson

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