A Place at the Table: Day 13

Tuesday – I soaked my chickpeas overnight (1/2 the bag). I was amazed at how much they expanded!  Not that I’ve never seen bowls of dried beans soaking around the house before; this was just my first experience with the process that included a glimpse at the “before” as well as the “after.”

The day’s first big challenge came after lunch when my vegetarian rice bowl left me wanting a burger or a burrito or pizza – something with meat.  I got an email from Domino’s that didn’t help.  (I’m on their email list now because the church uses them for lunches and special events.)

They were offering a Monday – Thursday carry-out deal: a large 3-topping pizza for $7.99.  With tax, it would have come to about $8.50 (or just over $1 per slice).

It’s a great deal. Normally, this pizza would be around $18. But even at over 50% off, it was well out of my price range for this fast.  I mean, I could order it – if I could make a meal out of one slice of pizza for 6 consecutive days.  But I have rarely been able to eat just ONE piece of pizza, so I don’t think that would be wise. Plus, it wouldn’t be a very efficient use of my limited resources.

Still, thinking through the situation didn’t ease my disappointment.  It was uncomfortable to have this offer dropped into my lap and know it was out of reach.  It made me wonder: what must it be like to have this experience every day?  What must it be like to be poor and yet also be surrounded by abundance?   What must it be like to have to live with the realization that you can’t have these things, even though you see plenty of other people who do have them?

The other challenge was a digestive issue later in the day.  Something I ate didn’t sit well with me.  Is it possible to mess up dried beans?  I put the chickpeas in to soak as soon as I thought of it yesterday afternoon to make sure I wouldn’t forget again, so they soaked for something like 16 hours. Can they soak too long?  I had a pb&b sandwich for breakfast, same as yesterday, followed by rice, broth, and green beans for lunch – also the same as yesterday. The chickpeas were the only thing different, and my digestive displeasure started before supper. It could be the big jump in fiber; it could also be the bread. My wife has gone gluten free. I’ve been doing what I call “gluten lite” for the last few months, so it’s not that my body isn’t used to dealing with gluten, but this week’s sandwiches have amounted to more gluten than I would normally consume.  If the problem persists, I’ll just have to give up the bread. At $5 or more for a teeny tiny loaf, buying gluten free bread would be more ludicrous than calling Domino’s.

Tomorrow, I think I’ll experiment to see if I can put my finger on the cause.  On the upside, I made it through the afternoon without coffee, and I’m proud of myself for that.

Lord, bless the poor.  May theirs indeed be the Kingdom of Heaven.
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