I just had the most amazing weekend. I feel so tremendously blessed to have been invited to accompany the feriantes from the Ferias Francas de Corrientes (Corrientes Province Farmers Market Association) on their trip to attend an event in the nearby province of Misiones. The encuentro was a 3 day long fair hosted by the Asociación of Feria Francas in Misiones. It was incredible.
Before leaving, in an attempt to express my gratitude to the feriantes I made cookies from molasses and ginger that I had bought earlier on in the week at the feria franca in Corrientes. It took me way longer that I thought it would as the stove I was using is fairly old and the flame kept dying on me. My wonderful housemate and friend, Lini, helped me out a ton and halfway through the baking process I was using both the stove on my side of the house and the stove on her side of the house to make the 60 giant cookies. I burned cookies and my thumb in the process of checking the batches of cookies while running back and forth between our two kitchens but I finished in the nick of time. I wouldn’t have been able to leave on time though if Lini hadn’t offered to wash the pans for me. How I love her! How I love all my housemates! ….And the people in the San Mateo congregation! And the feriantes! And my coworkers at INCUPO! And how I love everyone from my sending community who have given me this year-long opportunity- YOU!! Without your generous financial support for my room and board, health care, transportation costs, training, and stipend I would not be able to buy the ingredients and share these cookies with my new community here. Blessings abound in my life! I am so grateful to all of you.
The feriantes loved the cookies even though they did break a little during the trip… breaking cookies together… haha..
Argentines don’t usually bake with molasses here even though sugar cane is produced in the region. It is far more typical for it to be spread on bread like honey or on white cheese and eaten as a dessert. Ginger and cinnamon are hardly used at all in baking either. Some of the women that ate the cookies invited me to visit them in their homes to teach them how to make the cookies. They might even start selling them at their farmers markets! I can’t take the credit though. The internet has so many fabulous recipes. Here is the recipe I used! http://www.canyoustayfordinner.com/2010/12/08/the-chewiest-molasses-cookies/
I also added ¼ cup of ginger syrup I made using the recipe in this link http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/soft-ginger-molasses-cookies-and-ginger-syrup-recipe. They don’t sell ground ginger here (or cloves), so I had to improvise a little. To substitute I put in grated fresh ginger and the ginger syrup and extra cinnamon.
I believe food can be an amazing medium for sharing in community with other people. I loved the Tuesday night meals that I had with Jacob’s Well Stadium village and the frequent meals I had with Lutheran Campus Ministry at the U of M last year and it makes me so happy to know that I can continue to “break bread together” with my new community here. I must be quick to note however, that I (like last year) have been FAR more on the receiving end of both shared food and community. Everyday the generosity of the people I meet and spend time with humbles me more and more. I was given so much free food this weekend… empanadas, beverages, ice-cream, sopa paraguaya, homemade cakes, jams, mate, asado…! And then yesterday morning, only hours after I got back from my overnight bus trip, I was invited to Ester’s house (from San Mateo) for an asado with her family. It served as another reminder of the generosity of community I have been given through no merit of my own. It makes me think back to the “Road to Emmaus” passage I wrote about earlier in this blog and how it is one of the scripture themes for my year here.
“ As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.”
Each time I break bread together with others, I see glimpses of Jesus’ kingdom breaking through. We were created for community, to love each other and our God with uninhibited generosity of both our time and resources. My prayer today is that I can continue to love more and give with a more glad and generous heart. I am so thankful for the people around me who day by day are living examples of such generosity.