Feel Good Falafels

Click for this week’s recipe

 

 

People joke that the word falafel can be pronounced, “feel awful.”  But the taste of these deep-fried and well-seasoned chickpea croquettes make me feel good – really good – because these remind me of the Resurrection of Jesus.  

Click the button of this flattering picture of me to get a glimpse at the awesome sights (and tastes) of my journey to the Holy Land.

 

Twenty years ago, as a seminarian studying abroad, I had the chance to visit biblical holy cities such as Nazareth, Galilee, and Jerusalem.  The Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem  is a basilica that enshrines Calvary, where Jesus died; the burial rock where he was laid; and the actual tomb of Jesus, from where Christians believe he was resurrected.  Secular and even non-Christian scientists and archaeologists agree Jesus of Nazareth, the historical person, walked there carrying a cross, died, and was buried at those places where people now worship God and pray.  It’s indeed a powerful place to pray, and I work very hard to try and recall – using all of my senses – to recreate and remember my experiences.

It’s not always so easy to remember these powerful moments.  However, the human sense of taste has helped me remember my spiritual visit.  Outside and around a few corners from the basilica, I saw a man busily scooping up a yellow green mixture, dropping these scoops into hot oil, straining out the cooked croquettes into paper napkins, and exchanging dollars or shekels with the swarm of people around him.  It was impressive to watch, hypnotic-like, especially with enticing aromas and the hum of the bustling crowd.

So I entered into the organized chaos with one U.S. dollar in my hand.  When it was my turn, no words were exchanged.  The man confidently took my dollar in one hand, and with the other he swapped these warm, dark, deep-fried nuggets.  I didn’t know what else to do but walk away and just marvel.  I didn’t even know what I was eating.  But in faith, I ate and was converted.

The open market of Jerusalem

I went back again the next day.  This time, I showed up early and awkwardly waited for him to get his first batch cooked.  He gave me that smile of recognition that gave me confidence.  Somehow, eating his food connected me to his history, culture, and possibly his faith.  He smiled as a father would approve of his child learning something new and important in life.  I felt like I had grown up a little more just by expanding the experience into even more flavors while taking only one bite.

Chef for Peace, Nabil Marcos Aho, demonstrates how to make falafels.

Faith, God’s gift to us, needs to mature, indeed expand, if we are to benefit from this Gift.  It has to become incarnate, that is, take on flesh, because we are sensory people.  We need to touch the rock of Calvary, see the candles compete with the shadows of the darkened tomb, hear the chanting and murmurs of simple but sincere prayers, and also taste the bread and wine to connect us to the last things Jesus tasted on earth.

Wine tasting and lecture at LaSalle Monastery near Jerusalem.

 

Twenty years later, I now lead pilgrims to share these experiences of faith through food.  To help heighten their experiences I try to offer them opportunities using the senses of taste and smell, but also with practical teaching, so we can eat, remember, pray, and feel God smiling on us with each bite.  

Click Here for the Falafel Recipe and a little history, provided by Chef for Peace, Chef Nabil Marcos Aho.

The Tomb of Jesus Christ.
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FOOD FOR THOUGHT

 

  • What foods remind you of the Resurrection?
  • Have you ever eaten something “out of faith” and found you loved it?
  • How can you put your own spin into this traditional falafel recipe?

Your comments and questions are an important part of sharing our message and our meals.  Please leave your comments below.

Let us Pray:

Father, You give us so many ways to stay connected to Your love.  Help us never to limit our experiences of faith, but to truly expand our knowledge of You.  May we taste and see Your goodness each day, with every bite we eat and with every morsel of bread we offer to Your hungry children.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

 
2/15/14-2/17/14
 
Oak Grove, MN
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Posted February 11th, 2014 | Contests, Epic Food Fight, Spicing Up Married Life

 

Fr. Leo’s newest book

Epic Food Fight: A Bite-Sized History of Salvation is out TODAY and you can order your copy on

 

 
To commemorate the occasion, we are holding an EPIC contest to promote the release of the book.
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Just in time for the release of Fr. Leo’s newest book, Epic Food Fight: A Bite Sized History of Salvation, we want you to promote this book to your family and friends on Facebook, Twitter and your own blog. Embed the code, like Fr. Leo on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to be entered into a Rafflecopter giveaway in which you will be entered to win a copy of his latest book, signed by Fr. Leo! 

The first 50 orders of “Epic Food Fight” will get an autographed copy from Fr. Leo!
REMINDER FOR VALENTINE’S DAY:

 

 

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Any submissions may be used in future Grace Before Meals publications.

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