Last week, Neeta and I were invited to go to a memorial service for the father-in-law of one of Neeta's nieces. This young lady happens to be married to a Guyanese man of Indian descent who is Christian. It's a little unusual since most of the Guyanese people I know are Hindu. The service was held in the backyard of our niece and we attended along with the two of Neeta's sisters here in the US and their families. I felt uncomfortable listening to the preacher and having to take part in the ceremony. I was raised a Catholic, so it's not like I'm unfamiliar with the New Testament or Christian thought, but I couldn't help but feel a little imposed on. Ok, maybe it was because the pastor who led the service was in the mold of the tent preachers whose voices quavered every time they spoke of the "Lord", or maybe it was the fact that the deceased wasn't as devout as he was made out to be. Or, maybe it was the whole idea of the thing. Here was a group of people (the pastor included), all of whom were of Indian descent and born as Hindus, who were converted to Christianity through the work of some white English missionaries. Now I know,the gospel command to "go forth and preach to all nations, etc", but I couldn't help but think in this company, that the "nations" would be much better off if everyone were just left to worship God in their own style. I'm coming from a place where as a young "new age seeker", I studied with teachers from many different faiths. The thing I took away from all that "seeking" is that their are extraordinary people who lead exemplary lives who are Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Moslem, and even shamans from earth religions. Not to denigrate anyone's faith, but it's a little like my salad. There's a harmony to it. There are different textures, different tastes, but underlying all , it's salad. It's all good for you, all nourishing. Some things in it, you may like more than others, but all in all, it's a great meal!
I make it by first building a base of greens to which I add red onion, tomatoes and olives. I dress this base with a sprinkle of dried oregano or fresh herbs, vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. I always try to make the base with the best and freshest ingredients I can find. Then, I mix it well and lay it out on the platter. The next part is up to the Creator, uh creator that is. This one has in the middle some yellow fin tuna mixed with capers, celery and mayo, two portions of my home made white kidney beans with a soffrito of garlic and red pepper, two portions of caponata I had left over, and some chunks of Swiss cheese. I might also have put in roasted peppers, salami (if I weren't serving my wife), hard boiled eggs, potato salad, anything, in fact, I had handy that I knew to be delicious. Together, it's a beautiful thing. Just like people.