March 3, 2010

Church Dinner

While our church dinner tonight with the ladies auxiliary didn't look anything like the one to the left--the women in the photo all in pert little hats and wide flowing skirts--we sat around round tables with real tablecloths, our fancy table setting of stemware, silver and real plates borrowed just for the occasion.

I was one in forty there tonight, but all over our church this month, women in many congregations gather to celebrate the birthday of the women's auxiliary, a proud occasion. I like this annual event, and brought my little gift to exchange, my chicken dish, and even lent them my husband to help serve, do dishes and to put away the tables and chairs at the end of the night. However they may soon ban me from the bring-a-dish volunteer.

When I was handed the recipe for the chicken dish, I inwardly groaned. It was like those recipes I used to cook in the 1970s, that always included opening a can of cream of something soup and pouring all over the chicken, topping with cheese and then bread crumbs drenched with butter, then baking for one hour. High fat, high sodium, low flavor. So as we stood in the hallway, the food lady and I, I asked if I could substitute the canned soup for a homemade white sauce, as we didn't keep those cans around: too much sodium.
Then do you mind if I switch it to a broth-based sauce and cut out the cheese? Lactose intolerant and low fat, you see.
Can I leave off the butter off the bread crumbs? That low fat thing again.
Yeah, whatever. Just have it there by 6:30, hot.

I made Ginger-Orange Chicken, and was served last (by my husband) which was fine with me because I didn't really want to upset the karma of the universe too much. But really. Church ladies! Time to update those recipe files. There's been a huge food revolution the last five years with Michael Pollan's books, slow foods, and locally grown food cooperatives among other things. Time to throw out a few recipes and learn how to cook the newer way. Like your hairstyle from high school has to change, so should your cooking. I didn't utter any of these radical sentiments at the dinner table, but three women asked if they could have a bite of my chicken.

Sure. No problem.

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  1. Hmm
    You "lent your husband" eh?
    Just kidding.
    I get loaned all the time for events at our church, too, and I don't mind. It was just a funny phrase.

  2. I used to make tuna casserole or chicken-broccoli casserole for church dinners. You are right, way too much cheese, sodium,etc. Church ladies tune into Rachel Ray. Even if she uses fatty foods, she always tels you how to reduce the naughty ingredients for healthier cookng.

  3. I can just imagine you standing there, asking those questions about the recipe. And imagine the women thinking, do whatever you need to, just get it here on time! Too funny.
    Happy to see you back.

  4. I'm with you. TIme for important changes. Revolutionaries are never going to win a popularity contest but keep the faith!

  5. Love it! Ah, church ladies and their recipes. Since my husband is a minister, I've definitely eaten my share of "funeral jello" (red with whipped cream) and those horrible experimental dishes that involve gelatin, vegetables, and a mayonnaise frosting. Blech! The words mayonnaise and frosting DO NOT belong together!

    Great to see you back here posting for the month of March! I'm looking forward to reading your witty postings again!

    -Carrie F.

  6. Ah...a Pot Luck Dinner Rebel like myself! We are like kindred spirits. :) I have eaten the exact chicken you described too many times to count. I thought I would steer my RS Sisters away from such dishes this year, so I started the sign-up list with "Enchiladas". But they are bringing ham and potatoes anyway.