What I wouldn’t give to have dinner with these two gentleman…
Robert Farrar Capon ~ The Supper of the Lamb
Besides offering the best excuse you’ll ever come across for not going on a diet (“It costs more to diet than to get fat”), The Supper of the Lamb has a hell of an organizing principle: to walk the reader through a wildly complicated recipe for, you guessed it, lamb, while brandishing a rather lavish theology of creation along the way.
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 of the earth’s gorgeousness lies hidden in the glimpsed city it longs to become. 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 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.
It’s still on my bucket list (and probably always will be) to read The Supper of the Lamb aloud to my friends as we prepare Capon’s recipe—and while we’re at it let’s go ahead and throw in that Babette’s Feast will be muted in the background.
“Be forewarned,” says author Leon Kass, “you have picked up a strange book.” Strange indeed, and not for everyone. But I assure you, it’s fascinating. And why should we expect anything less of someone who has spent several years as a practicing medical doctor, a professor of philosophy at the University of Chicago (that’s right, science and philosophy), and, among other things, as a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics? Suffice it to say, if Kass is as boundless a cook as he is a thinker, he’ll be the first one with an invitation to my lamb dinner party.