You may not be that religious—or for you, like the country girl, it may just be a pretense—but you may still find something vaguely oxymoronic in the title of this article.
Isn’t Advent the lead-up to Christmas presents? And isn’t Lent the uncomfortable prologue to gorging yourself on Easter candy? So how do the two go together? Yes, I can tell by your holiday descriptions that you are too into selfindulgence to submit yourself to any Lenten deprivations.
But enough guessing already, the Lenten lunches are a program offered by the Cathedral Church of the Advent.
You go hear great speakers from around the world—like today I went to hear Michael Hill, Bishop of Bristol, England, who will be here the rest of the week. I guess you have to make it worth it to come all the way to Birmingham from Bristol.
And Bunny, bless her heart, is back in the kitchen working as a volunteer. She even bussed my table the other day. I have to admit I liked such a rare subservient gesture from her, except it means I had to write the anonymous restaurant review myself. Don’t ask me to give up Bunny for Lent altogether now.
I have tried giving up cussing. I remember when Tina tried to give up cheese and failed miserably. I did give up red meat once and thought about not going back. Barbara Dooley said I should give up women for Lent, too. Well, thanks a lot, Barbara. I never said one bad word about the Vols. The country girl wears a different shade of tacky orange to go with her granny art from that famed Soho gallery, JC Pennys.
OK OK, get back on the subject, Anonymous. Don’t let Bunny think you can’t do without her. Well, as long as the best lunch in town till April 5 is at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, I am going to let the secret out as to what you should get every day of the week. That will teach them for trying to keep it a secret for affluent Episcopalians.
As if they needed a bargain. It makes me think that maybe they are thriftily sitting up all night darning their $40 Nordstrom socks.
Because anyone can go and hear a great speaker for half an hour then retire to Clingman Commons to have a great lunch for $5-9. So I got up to $11 last week, but I splurged on a Bing Cherry Salad and a dessert. Blueberry pie, and I hope the Devil never tempts me with it in the desert.
So today, Monday, I went for soup and half a sandwich for $7 and a bing cherry salad for $2 more. I can’t do without the bing (note to Lucifer), so if it breaks my budget I would just fork over the $2 for the bing by itself because I am addicted. But today I got the full monty, delicious chicken artichoke soup and half a pimiento cheese sandwich. I am particular about P cheese, and this one could pass for your grandmother’s— unless your grandmother is Joan Rivers or Phyllis Diller or some other disaster in the smoke-filled kitchen. Well Iron Chef Chris Hastings would be hard-pressed to make better P cheese than this in less than an hour.
OK, four days left. Tuesday, that’s easy—not the day for pimiento cheese. Get the Elegant Shrimp with mushrooms and artichokes over rice pilaf.
Wednesday I am going for Chicken and cornbread dressing, Mediterranean-style green beans and peach muffin—all for $7.
Thursday, for me, is a toss-up between the chicken tetrazzini with cranberry relish and the pimiento cheese, or you may want to consider the chicken salad if you had P cheese on Monday. You don’t want to miss a single day of Mike Hill or the bing cherry. They serve tomato aspic, too. Some people like it, but it tastes like it sounds if you ask me.
That just leaves Friday. Get any sandwich you want or forget everything else altogether. Just don’t make St Peter call you a fool at the pearly gate—get the Chicken and Wild Rice Soup, for heaven’s sake. Don’t even try to resist like some kind of Anglican at a universalist prayer chant rave with incense. Just take my word for it.
I was just wondering if Bunny is going to cook and clean for me when Lent is over. Then I heard her laughing out loud in my head, “Dream on, buster!” I think she is telepathic and clairvoyant. Well, maybe at least she will get back to writing the reviews for me when she hangs up her Advent volunteer apron. I like a girl in uniform—I mean she is so sweet, at least that is my mantra while I think she might be intercepting my thoughts.
Meanwhile, see you at the Advent.
And don’t be a glutton. Sure the food is great, but don’t miss the great speakers like some Hannibal Lector or Skeletor that just goes straight for the lunch. At least not without a note from your preacher.
CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF THE ADVENT Lenten Lunch and Lecture Weekdays through April 5 12:05-12:35 speaker; lunch 12:05-1 2017 Sixth Avenue North Birmingham, Alabama 35203 205-251-2324 http://adventbirmingham.org