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Try this for a birthday feast (10/03/2012)
By Frances Edstrom

I see in the paper today that October 4 is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. Naming and celebrating feast days is a Catholic tradition. Saints of the Church are remembered on the dates of their deaths each year. If their date of death is unknown, they are assigned a day. They are called feast days, I think, to celebrate the feast of their entry into heaven.

I know that Oct. 4 is the feast of St. Francis, because he is my “patron saint.” Catholic babies are named for saints who will then be their special “patrons” in heaven.

It is also the day when many churches celebrate the blessing of the animals. St. Francis of Assisi had great love for all creatures great and small. As a child I went through a period of not swatting at a fly or stepping on an ant, but as an adult, I kill boxelder bugs with abandon!

My grandson, Harry, who is three, was at his Episcopal church last Sunday in St. Paul, where he lives with his parents. Their pastor is an older fellow with white hair and a white beard. He announced that next Sunday, the church would hold a blessing of the animals, and—this being the city, where one can be fairly confident that people don’t keep cows or pigs or sheep—he invited all the parishioners to bring pets to the service to be blessed.

On the way out of church, the pastor, dressed in his long white vestment, stood at the door, bidding the parishioners goodbye. Harry stopped to talk to him.

“Can I bring my dog to church next Sunday?” he asked.

“Why certainly, Harry, you may bring your dog,” said the pastor.

“Can I bring my cat, too?” asked Harry.

“Of course you may!” said the pastor, and Harry and his parents were on their way.

Harry began making plans to take the dog and cat to church, but my daughter Cassidy, being practical, tried to temper the excitement a little.

“Let’s just bring Fergie the dog,” she said. “The cat is a little rambunctious.” (It has a definite affinity for the wild).

“But,” said Harry, “God said to bring the dog and the cat!”

Here in Winona, we celebrated my oldest granddaughter’s sixth birthday on Monday night at my house. Morgan suggested I make something that Peyton would like to eat, which pretty much eliminates escargot, beef Wellington, or chicken Kiev (not that I make them). I went on the Internet, and found a reference to a TV show for kids called iCarly. I had never heard of it, but read that it is about a teenage girl who has a blog on the internet. She lives with her 26-year-old brother while their father is in the service. Her brother, Spencer, apparently does all the cooking, rather creatively, and came up with a recipe for spaghetti tacos.

That sounded pretty gross to me, but the recipe got rave reviews on the internet, so I gave it a try. I made a huge salad, too, for balance. Here’s how I made the tacos.

Cooked 1 pound of ground beef, drained it and added half a package of the taco seasoning they sell at the grocery store. Boiled half a small package of spaghetti, which was way too much. Made spaghetti sauce.

Heated up taco shells, let the kids spoon the ground beef into a shell, sprinkle with shredded cheese, top with some spaghetti, and cover that with spaghetti sauce. Gave the kids dishtowels to tie around their necks, and let them at it. They liked it, and amazingly, so did we.

For dessert, we had make-your-own sundaes with strawberries and chocolate sauce. We let the kids put sprinkles on top.

The event was pronounced by Peyton as “the best-ever birthday party,” even though her parents said a silent prayer of thanks that I don’t cook for the kids every day. Morgan was probably wondering where along the line I had forgotten to cook kid meals with not so much fat and lots of veggies, which is what I imposed on them as a parent. But why be a grandma if you don’t get to make disgustingly fattening food? I do put my foot down on sugared cereal, and they go for the “good for you” cereal without complaints—because it comes from Grandma’s cupboard. 


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