The spiritual foundations of The Suppers Programs are of great interest to me. I have felt such a sense of loss of family traditions, so many of which were typically shared around the dinner table. So the community that grows out of Suppers’ devotion to restoration of the family table nourishes my soul at the same time as it nourishes my body. For me, the value of Suppers meetings is not just the hour I spend with friends, but also carrying the experience into my life. It’s the spark that helps me take a little extra time to prepare food and reconnect with my family on a daily basis at the table. I look forward to the creative aspect of making meals with fresh foods, and I feel so satisfied when we sit down to a plate of colorful, fresh, tasty food. The beauty of it all is that there are no lines between body, mind, and spirit when a meal is shared. Making healthy food choices, I’m honoring my body as the temple of my soul at the same time as I’m taking an emotional breath to reconnect.
Feeling my connections is big for me. Every morning I wake up and say a prayer that begins, “May I feel a bond with each person I meet…” To do this every second all day requires great presence. I find my intention to bond is regularly challenged by all of those midday symptoms that crop up when I’ve waited too long to eat. Now I am more aware when my mood changes and I become impatient. It is only through the realizations of this spiritual practice that I have come to understand how these symptoms have limited my ability to bond with others. As I move through my day, I’m able to watch how my own physical status affects my personal and professional relationships and how others respond to me based on my moods. Others don’t know what is going on with me; they just see the behavior. They aren’t thinking, “Beatrice needs to eat,” but more like “What a crab,” or maybe “She is hard to work with.” Creating community is a spiritual, social, healthful, and professional skill that I not only need to do, but enjoy doing. It’s silly to let a missed meal or a hasty sweet snack reduce my ability to bond.
I have been an unwitting self-saboteur. No more. Now I eat strategically: I make sure to eat a good helping of protein in the morning (bean soup is a great example), and I pack a healthy lunch (usually leftovers) or snacks that deliver the nourishment I need. I always have nuts and fresh spice teas on hand. I also review my schedule to know whom I will meet that day, what needs to be accomplished, and how I can bring my best self forward. And I give myself permission to take a walk or close my door, if I need to.
Beatrice’s Breakfast Bean Soup
1 lb dry beans such as navy or pinto, cooked ahead*
6 plum tomatoes, chopped
6 small squash (patty pan or small zucchini), chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
12 mushrooms, chopped
3–4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 TBS organic (no MSG) soup base
1 TBS curry paste **
Olive oil to coat bottom of sauté pan
Coat the bottom of a sauté pan with olive oil. Sauté onions until translucent. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add remaining vegetables and sauté until slightly softened. Add cooked beans with remaining broth and water to make the desired consistency. Season with soup base and curry paste and simmer a few more minutes.
Add water or broth if it is too thick. Taste before salting as the soup base may be salty.
* To prepare beans: pick them over, removing clumps of soil, if any. Rinse. Add water to cover, plus one inch and soak overnight or for several hours. This increases digestibility and decreases cooking time. You can omit this step and cook them longer, if you don’t have enough lead time. If using salt, add it at the end, as the beans don’t cook to desired softness when salt is added early in the cooking. Cook the beans until desired softness, probably one to two hours, depending on soaking.
** If you don’t have curry paste, sauté 2 TBS curry powder in a little oil, butter, or ghee for just half a minute.