The Supper of the Lamb Quotes

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The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection by Robert Farrar Capon
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The Supper of the Lamb Quotes (showing 1-30 of 33)
“Do you seriously envision St. Paul or Calvin or Luther opening bottles of Welch's Grape Juice in the sacristy before the service? Luther at least would turn over in his grave.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“Why do we marry, why take friends and lovers? Why give ourselves to music, painting, chemistry or cooking? Out of simple delight in the resident goodness of creation, of course; but out of more than that, too. Half earth's gorgeousness lies hidden in the glimpsed city it longs to become.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“Man was made to lead with his chin; he is worth knowing only with his guard down, his head up and his heart rampant on his sleeve.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“Every real thing is a joy, if only you have eyes and ears to relish it, a nose and tongue to taste it.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“O Lord, refresh our sensibilities. Give us this day our daily taste. Restore to us soups that spoons will not sink in, and sauces which are never the same twice. Raise up among us stews with more gravy than we have bread to blot it with, and casseroles that put starch and substance in our limp modernity. Take away our fear of fat and make us glad of the oil which ran upon Aaron's beard. Give us pasta with a hundred fillings, and rice in a thousand variations. Above all, give us grace to live as true men - to fast till we come to a refreshed sense of what we have and then to dine gratefully on all that comes to hand. Drive far from us, O Most Bountiful, all creatures of air and darkness; cast out the demons that possess us; deliver us from the fear of calories and the bondage of nutrition; and set us free once more in our own land, where we shall serve Thee as Thou hast blessed us - with the dew of heaven, the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine. Amen.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“For all its rooted loveliness, the world has no continuing city here; it is an outlandish place, a foreign home, a session in via to a better version of itself-and it is our glory to see it so and to thirst until Jerusalem comes home at last. We were given appetites, not to consume the world and forget it, but to taste its goodness and hunger to make it great.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“What is good is difficult, and what is difficult is rare.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“We live in an age in which saving is subterfuge for spending. No doubt you sincerely believe that there is margarine in your refrigerator because it is more economical than butter. But you are wrong. Look in your bread drawer. How many boxes of cute snack crackers are there? How many packages of commercial cookies reeking of imitation vanilla badly masked with oil of coconut? How many presweetened breakfast cereals? Tell me now that you bought the margarine because you couldn't afford butter. You see - you can't. You bought the bread drawer of goodies because you were conned into them; and you omitted the butter because you were conned out of it. The world has slipped you culinary diagrams instead of food. It counts on your palate being not only wooden, but buried under ten coats of synthetic varnish as well. Therefore, the next time you go to check out of the supermarket, simply put back one box of crackers, circle round the dairy case again, swap your margarine for a pound of butter and walk up to the checker with your head held high, like the last of the big spenders. This is no time for cost-counters: It is time to be very rich or very poor - or both at once.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“unless I am mistaken, it was Mr. Welch himself (an adamant total abstainer) who persuaded American Protestantism to abandon what the Lord obviously thought rather kindly of.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“Only miracle is plain; it is in the ordinary that groans with the weight of glory.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“IMITATION CITRUS FLAVORED DIETARY ARTIFICIALLY SWEETENED CARBONATED BEVERAGE. That, I submit, is not a label; it is an incantation. Someday, it should be set to a suitable plainsong tune or Anglican chant.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“Every dish in the ferial cuisine, however, provides a double or treble delight: Not only is the body nourished and the palate pleased, the mind is intrigued by the triumph of ingenuity over scarcity - by the making of slight materials into a considerable matter. A man can do worse than to be poor. He can miss altogether the sight of the greatness of small things.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“The bread and the pastry, the cheeses and wine, and the sugar go into the Supper of the lamb because we do. It is our love that brings the city home. It is I grant you, an incautious and extravagant hope. But only outlandish hopes can make themselves at home.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“The world may or may not need another cookbook, but it needs all the lovers – amateurs – it can get. It is a gorgeous old place, full of clownish graces and beautiful drolleries, and it has enough textures, tastes, and smells to keep us intrigued for more time than we have. Unfortunately, however, our response to its loveliness is not always delight: It is, far more often than it should be, boredom. And that is not only odd, it is tragic; for boredom is not neutral – it is the fertilizing principle of unloveliness.

In such a situation, the amateur – the lover, the man who thinks heedlessness is a sin and boredom a heresy – is just the man you need. More than that, whether you think you need him or not, he is a man who is bound, by his love, to speak. If he loves Wisdom or the Arts, so much the better for him and for all of us. But if he loves only the way meat browns or onions peel, if he delights simply in the curds of his cheese or the color of his wine, he is, by every one of those enthusiasms, commanded to speak. A silent lover is one who doesn't know his job.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“Between the onion and the parsley, therefore, I shall give the summation of my case for paying attention. Man's real work is to look at the things of the world and to love them for what they are. That is, after all, what God does, and man was not made in God's image for nothing. The fruits of his attention can be seen in all the arts, crafts, and sciences. It can cost him time and effort, but it pays handsomely. If an hour can be spent on one onion, think how much regarding it took on the part of that old Russian who looked at onions and church spires long enough to come up with St. Basil's Cathedral. Or how much curious and loving attention was expended by the first man who looked hard enough at the inside of trees, the entrails of cats, the hind ends of horses and the juice of pine trees to realize he could turn them all into the first fiddle. No doubt his wife urged him to get up and do something useful. I am sure that he was a stalwart enough lover of things to pay no attention at all to her nagging; but how wonderful it would have been if he had known what we know now about his dawdling. He could have silenced her with the greatest riposte of all time: Don't bother me; I am creating the possibility of the Bach unaccompanied sonatas.

But if man's attention is repaid so handsomely, his inattention costs him dearly. Every time he diagrams something instead of looking at it, every time he regards not what a thing is but what it can be made to mean to him - every time he substitutes a conceit for a fact - he gets grease all over the kitchen of the world. Reality slips away from him; and he is left with nothing but the oldest monstrosity in the world: an idol. Things must be met for themselves. To take them only for their meaning is to convert them into gods - to make them too important, and therefore to make them unimportant altogether. Idolatry has two faults. It is not only a slur on the true God; it is also an insult to true things.

They made a calf in Horeb; thus they turned their Glory into the similitude of a calf that eateth hay. Bad enough, you say. Ah, but it was worse than that. Whatever good may have resided in the Golden Calf - whatever loveliness of gold or beauty of line - went begging the minute the Israelites got the idea that it was their savior out of the bondage of Egypt. In making the statue a matter of the greatest point, they missed the point of its matter altogether.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“a world in which no sparrow falls unknown, but-so much for the neatness of our diagrams-it is the Father's will that sparrows fall.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“That, you know, is why the world exists at all. It remains outside the cosmic garbage can of nothingness, not because it is such a solemn necessity that nobody can get rid of it, but because it is the orange peel hung on God's chandelier, the wishbone in His kitchen closet. He likes it; therefore, it stays. The whole marvelous collection of stones, skins, feathers, and string exists because at least one lover has never quite taken His eye off it, because the Dominus vivificans has his delight with the sons of men.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“For somehow, beneath this gorgeous paradigm of unnecessary being, lies the Act by which it exists. You have just now reduced it to its parts, shivered it into echoes, and pressed it to a memory, but you have also caught the hint that a thing is more than the sum of all the insubstantialities that comprise it. Hopefully, you will never again argue that the solidities of the world are mere matters of accident, creatures of air and darkness, temporary and meaningless shapes out of nothing. Perhaps now you have seen at least dimly that the uniquenesses of creation are the result of continuous creative support, of effective regard by no mean lover. He likes onions, therefore they are. The fit, the colors, the smell, the tensions, the tastes, the textures, the likes, the shapes are a response, not to some forgotten decree that there may as well be onions as turnips, but to His present delight - His intimate and immediate joy in all you have seen, and in the thousand other wonders you do not even suspect. With Peter, the onion says, Lord, it is good for us to be here. Yes, says God. Tov, Very good.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“Both the ferial and the festal cuisine, therefore, must be seen as styles of unabashed eating. Neither attempts to do anything to food other than render it delectable. Their distinction is grounded, not in sordid dietetic tricks, but in a choice between honest frugality or generous expense. Both aim only at excellence; accordingly, neither is suitable for dieting. Should a true man want to lose weight, let him fast. Let him sit down to nothing but coffee and conversation, if religion or reason bid him to do so; only let him not try to eat his cake without having it. Any cake he could do that with would be a pretty spooky proposition - a little golden calf with dietetic icing, and no taste at all worth having.

Let us fast, then - whenever we see fit, and as strenuously as we should. But having gotten that exercise out of the way, let us eat. Festally, first of all, for life without occasions is not worth living. But ferially, too, for life is so much more than occasions, and its grand ordinariness must never go unsavored. But both ways let us eat with a glad good will, and with a conscience formed by considerations of excellence, not by fear of Ghosts.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“Economy is not one of the necessary principles of the universe; it is one of the jokes which God indulges in precisely because he can afford it. If a man takes it seriously, however, he is doomed forever to a middle-income appreciation of the world. Indeed, only the very poor and the very rich are safe from its idolatry. The poor, because while they must take it seriously, they cannot possibly believe in it as a good, and the rich, because, though they may see it as a good, they cannot possibly take it seriously. For the one it is a bad joke, for the other a good one; but for both it is only part of the divine ludicrousness of creation - of the sensus lusus which lies at the heart of the matter. And that is why all men should hasten to become very poor or very rich - or both at once, like St. Paul, who had nothing and yet possessed all things. The world was made in sport, for sports; economy is worth only a smile. There are more serious things to laugh at.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“Man wills to make of earth,
not one Jerusalem but two; this sacramental blood de-
clears the double mind by which he wills to lift both
lion and lamb beyond the killing to exchange unaccount-
able and vast.
Man's priestliness therefore
bespeaks his refusal of despair; proclaims acceptance of
a world which, by its murderous hand, subscribes the
insupportable dilemma of its being—the war of lion and
lamb having no other, likely outcome here than two im-
possibilities:
The one,
a pride of victors feeding on the slain; but leaving the
lion as he was before, trapped in ancient reciprocities by
which at last all power falls to crows;
And the other,
a hymn to despair no victim will accept; it is not enough,
in this paroxysm of two martyrdoms, to stand upon the ship-
wrecks of the slain and praise the weak for weakness; the
lamb's will, too, was life; he died refusing death.
Sacrifice therefore
Not written off, but recognized,
a sign in blood of the vaster end of blood; a redness
turning all things white; an impossibility prefiguring the
last exchange of all.

The old order, of course,
unchanged; the deaths of bulls and goats achieving
nothing; Aaron still ineffectual; creation still bloody;
But haunted now by bells within the veil
where Aaron walks in shadows sprinkling
blood and bids a new Jerusalem descend.
Endless smoke now rising
Lion become priest
And lamb victim
The world awaits
The unimaginable union
By which the Lion lifts Himself Lamb slain
And, Priest and Victim,
Brings
The City
Home.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“There, then, is the role of the amateur: to look the world back to grace. There, too, is the necessity of his work: His tribe must be in short supply; his job has gone begging. The world looks as if it has been left in the custody of a pack of trolls. Indeed, the whole distinction between art and trash, between food and garbage, depends on the presence or absence of the loving eye. Turn a statue over to a boor, and his boredom will break it to bits - witness the ruined monuments of antiquity. On the other hand, turn a shack over to a lover; for all its poverty, its lights and shadows warm a little and its numbed surfaces prickle with feeling.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“O the sad frugality of the middle-income mind. O the humorless neatness of an intellectuality which buys mass-produced candlesticks and carefully puts one at each end of every philosophical mantlepiece! How far it lies from the playfulness of Him who composed such odd and needless variations on the themes of leaf and backbone, eye and nose! A thousand praises that it has only lately managed to lay its cold hand on the wines, the sauces, and the cheeses of the world! A hymn of thanksgiving that it could not reach into the depths of the sea to clamp its grim simplicities over the creatures that swim luminously in the dark! A shout of rejoicing for the fish who wears his eyeballs at the ends of long stalks, and for the jubilant laughter of the God who holds him in life with a daily bravo at the bravura of his being!”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“Let a woman learn only a handful of basic finishes for her meat, and she will become a cook instead of a housewife. Butter and cream, for example. What chicken is there - what veal, what pork - indeed, what shrimp, scallops, oysters, or clams, that will not come to a glorious end if, five minutes before they leave the stove, they are graced with a lump of butter and as many tablespoons of cream as can be spared?”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“cover each with plastic wrap (you see, I hope, that I am no mere antiquarian, insisting on barefoot walks through unimproved sculleries. I am as grateful as anyone for real progress as any modernist. More so, perhaps. Anything that preserves freshness for the pot is on the side of the angels.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“I myself, however, could never resist the temptation to read raisin paste for wine in the story of the Miracle of Cana. "When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made raisin paste ... he said unto the bridegroom, 'Every man doth at the beginning doth set forth good raisin paste, and when men have well drunk [eaten? the text is no doubt corrupt], then that which is worse, but thou hast kept the good raisin paste until now.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“Does it not whet your appetite for the critical opera omnia of such an author, where he will freely have at the lenth and breath of Scripture? Can you not see his promised land flowing with peanut butter and jelly; his apocalypse, in which the great whore of Babylon is given the cup of ginger ale of the fierceness of the wrath of God?”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
tags: satire
“Your stew, so long deferred, stands finally extra causas. Greet it as your fellow creature. It is as deliciously unnecessary as you are.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“On the other hand the usual flat whisk is awkward for tall, narrow pots, and it, too, is weak at scouring into corners. The spiral cream whip ... is a little better at reaching out of the way spots, but it defies firm handling. If anything ever sticks to the pot, you will feel as if you are working with a wet noodle.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
“Perhaps you see, therefore, why I think taste must come before nutrition? Our infatuation for the quasi-scientific has left us easy marks for con men and tin fiddle manufacturers.”
Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection

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