Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Salsa and Sin

The tomatillo salsa (Sept 19) was excellent...lively, citrusy and refreshing, spicy but not too. When my alchemy was done, the salsa was made of ten tomatillos, finely diced; two medium onions, chopped; one bunch of cilantro; two tablespoons or so of chopped garlic; canola oil; a teaspoon of Tabasco; and a fair amount of McCormick's lemon pepper. It was almost addictive served with tortilla strips heated nacho-style with monterey jack cheese and Mexican crema. My recipe is similar to one on page 200 in "Savor the Southwest" by Barbara Pool Fenzl, except that she adds a serrano chili and olive oil, rather than the lighter canola.

Yesterday, I heard that an ice-breaker question at a mens' church fellowship breakfast was "What are your three favorite sins?" (Happily, I didn't hear any of the responses!) The question intrigues me.....the vulnerability and honesty needed to answer it in a public forum (or at all) ; the meaning of favorite; the "safe harbor" trust of that group to enable the question to be asked and answered. The question causes me to more closely examine my definition of sin. Hey buddy, this question is very personal!

If in Nevada and with time on my hands, I do like to play the quarter slot machines. That last happened two or three years ago in Las Vegas. Slot machines are so odd: they are just machinery and blinking lights and big piggy banks for the casinos. We all know that. Yet something happens after fifteen minutes of pulling the arm of a one-armed bandit. A feeling takes over, a weird high of hope and persistence and of, well, greed. You absolutely feel that your fortune is one pull away and that all your financial worries will be solved forever. Fortunately, I can walk away. Also, my husband loiters around me bored if slot-machine fever hits, and makes impatient gestures once I've dropped $40 or $50. Slot machine fever is a sin.

My sometimes over-the-top maternal pride can appear to others as sin, I guess. I honestly believe that my two daughters, son and stepson are marvelous, unrepeatable miracles, and as sappy and phony as this sounds, I never get over being humbled at the gift of being their mother. (I can bore people for hours with tales of my kids, much the way my parents did with slides from their trips to Hawaii. We all thought we might die if we saw another slide of tropical flowers.) Over the years, a few have personalized my maternal pride to mean that I am saying something negative about their children, in comparison. That has never, ever been in my heart or mind. There must be sin in this. I need to think about it more.

Favorite secret food sin....banana pecan pancakes at IHOP. And today, tomatillo salsa.

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