Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Kitchen is Open

Stock photo of some really good-lookin' pot roast!

The temperatures went from a warmer and with less snow than usual Winter right into Spring. The over night low was above 45 degrees. That's Fahrenheit. Any residual snow piles we did have are just about gone. It's raining a little this morning. Mrs. Spadoman reported that the usual path taken for walking the dog is a "Mud hole".

That being said, I'm still planning on leaving next Sunday for New Mexico. I'll just have to closely watch the NOAA weather site for late Winter storms as I cross the Great Plains of Nebraska, Kansas and Eastern Colorado. I remember one year getting stranded in Liberal, Kansas on nour way home. We ventured North by three different routes to be turned back every time. Ended up getting a room, but we never did get stuck in the snow like many others we witnessed.

In the meantime, I'll be strapped to the kitchen today. I'm putting together a multi-ethnic meal to serve to the people who attend the Sweat Lodge ceremony. Even though I, myself, am not a Native American, I know some of the customs and traditions and participate with others in putting them to good practice.

One such custom is having a Wopila. That is the word used in the Dakota language for a celebration of giving thanks. I have much need to give thanks to these friends. When I was in the hospital numerous times in November and December, these people prayed for me. They prayed for my family, that they would be safe. They prayed that my wife had safe travel to and from the hospital. They prayed that no other sickness or tragedy fell upon any of us. It would be next to impossible to include everyone that prayed for us as we are so fortunate to have many friends and people who care, so this celebration, this Wopila is for everyone, even those that are not in attendance on this particular evening.

Today is the day I will host a Feast and Giveaway, a Wopila, and say Thank You Friends. This isn't unlike my own Italian heritage. As you may know, many cultures offer food and share repast with friends. My mother never went to visit anyone without giving something to the host or hostess, be it flowers, a candle or some kind of food. No one ever entered my childhood home without being offered something to eat, if not a full blown meal, then at least a sandwich or some kind of dessert with coffee.

On the menu will be an Italian favorite. Rigatoni, served with the red gravy heavily laden with sausage and meatballs. Talk about tradition! The old family recipe comes out for this one. But I will also serve a wild rice stew with wild rice harvested last Fall from the Bad River reservation in Northern Wisconsin.

A third main dish will be pot roast ala Spada. Boneless chuck roasts smothered with carrots, potatoes and onion, seasoned and roasted. No spada, or sword, will be needed to cut this meat. You can use your fork.

I'll balance the plates with a green tossed salad with home made Italian salad dressing, another family recipe, and serve rolls and butter. For dessert, my offering will be chocolate frosted chewy fudge-like brownies, some with walnuts, some without. Beverages will include ice cold apple cider and top quality freshly roasted and brewed J&S Bean factory coffee.

At each Sweat Lodge ceremony, we share a pot luck meal to thank the Spirits. Everyone brings a dish to share. We sit and eat together and feed each other's Spirit and send a paper plate full of food, sprinkled with tobacco, to put in the Sacred Fire that we used for the ceremony. I sent the word out that I am having this Wopila and that people should bring salads and desserts and that I was providing the main courses. So there will be a lot of food to eat. This will take place after the Sweat Lodge ceremony is complete.

After we eat, I will spread a blanket out over a couple of tables and place gifts for the people. I will have the Elders and Veterans come first and choose a gift. These gifts are small, but the giving comes from the heart. I have chosen small flashlights, bandanas, scented candles, bags of coffee and gift certificates to name a few of the items. I have a special gift for our leader, Gene.

He will get a dance stick that I made for him. I actually started on this project some time ago. I finished it in time to be ready for this Giveaway. Gene is the one who reminds the people who is in need of prayers. He asks people to remember the people that are having a hard time. He remembered my family and me many times during that two month stretch.

A Dance Stick gift for my friend Gene

So, today, I'll be in the kitchen, getting food prepared. The shopping is done. All that remains is the doing. I better get busy. I'll see if I can snap off a few photos as I'm scurrying about.

Mitakwe Oyasin



somepinkflowers said...

nice to see
you are up to playing Cook
and up to traveling
across the country, spadoman!!


you lost me
at the pot roast
and then the sausage
& meatballs
as i am
not a fan of beef and/or pork

you won me plum back
with the chocolate
fudge-like brownie...


{{ i'll take 2! }}

oh my...
you MADE the dance stick!

clearly this is your art!

hope you have the best celebration &
the safest of travels,
my friend!

Fran said...

that's a whole lotta thankfulness cooked up.
enjoy the gathering.

rebecca said...

you are a waterfall of abundant happiness!!!
rock on peaceman!

EG CameraGirl said...

Enjoy your trip to New Mexico!

susan said...

The Dance Stick is very beautiful and an exceptional present for an exceptional friend. I'm so glad all the prayers worked. The wolpia will be great.