A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Fine Flour

Posted on: December 5, 2013

I haven’t started baking fruitcake or cookies from family recipes just yet, but I’m looking forward to it. I enjoy making (and eating) these once-a-year treats, even though it means buying special ingredients like white pepper for my pebernødder cookies and stocking up on basics like sugar, butter and flour.

MinPin Caesar

Caesar, who was my cooking buddy, covered in flour

I speak from experience when I say that working with flour can be like working with glitter: it can get everywhere, even on pets passing through the kitchen, as you can see from the photo of my late miniature pinscher Caesar. (Not that he was passing through; he was actively looking for baking fallout.)

That being said, using the right kind of flour makes a difference in the texture of baked goods.

The Israelites knew about the importance of fine flour, especially in preparing offerings to the Lord. For example, in Leviticus 2:4*, we read God’s instructions to Moses: “When you bring a cereal offering baked in the oven as an offering, it shall be unleavened cakes of fine flour mixed with oil, or unleavened wafers spread with oil.”

I was reminded of this recently when I came across this verse, Sirach 35:2:

He who returns a kindness offers fine flour,

and he who gives alms sacrifices a thank offering.

In December, we’re called on to give generously to charity—more so than at any other time of year “because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices,” as the gentleman collecting for charity in Stave I of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol points out.

As Christians, we know we’re called to show love for our neighbour. I like the idea of looking at our gifts and donations to charity and our acts of kindness as thank offerings to God—for having good health, recovering from illness, finding a job, welcoming a child or a son- or daughter-in-law into the family, gathering with family and friends for the holidays, or whatever blessings we may want to thank God for.

I pray that our giving this Advent and Christmas would be an offering of thanks to God.

With every gift show a cheerful face,

and dedicate your tithe with gladness.

~ Sirach 35:9

(*Scripture quotes taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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