One of my favorite books is The Supper of the Lamb by Robert Farrar Capon, who is an enthusiastic amateur cook and Episcopal priest and father of 6. The back cover describes the book as a “superb cookbook and a freewheeling treatise on the art of living.”
I can’t vouch for the superbness of the recipes; I haven’t tried any. But the freewheeling treatise on the art of living–that part makes the book absolutely captivating, and for me, very life affirming. I list this book when I list life-changing books.
I had not read it in quite awhile but I got it off the shelf the morning of our dinner party and read the following. Having run through his particular recommendations for menu and guests, table setting and proper attire for a dinner party, Capon offers a benediction,
“With that, I leave you. From this point on, a well-made dinner party is on its own. With only minor nudging from time to time to prevent its running aground in the shoal waters of disagreement or bad taste, it should come, with flags flying and bands playing, to a happy berth. I wish you well. May your table be graced with lovely women and good men. May you drink well enough to drown the envy of youth in the satisfactions of maturity. May your men wear their weight with pride, secure in the knowledge that they have at last become considerable. May they rejoice that they will never again be taken for callow, black-haired boys. And your women? Ah! Women are like cheese strudels. When first baked, they are crisp and fresh on the outside, but the filling is unsettled and indigestible; in age, the crust may not be so lovely, but the filling comes at last into its own. May you relish them indeed. May we all sit long enough for reserve to give way to ribaldry and for gallantry to grow upon us. May there be singing at our table before the night is done, and old broad jokes to fling at the stars and tell them we are men.
We are great, my friend; we shall not be saved for trampling that greatness under foot. Ecce tu pulcher es, dilecte mi, et decorus. Lectulus noster floridus. Tigna domorum nostrarum cedrina, laquearia nostra cypressina. Ecce iste venit, saliens in montibus, transilens colles. Come then; leap upon these mountains, skip upon these hills and heights of earth. The road to Heaven does not run from the world but through it. The longest Session of all is no discontinuation of these sessions here, but a lifting of them by priestly love. It is a place for men, not ghosts–for the risen gorgeousness of the New Earth and for the glorious earthiness of the True Jerusalem.
Eat well then. Between our love and His Priesthood, He makes all things new. Our Last Home will be home indeed.”
Beautiful. Anyone know Latin?