Today’s find: Mirepoix

Dad’s been gone for nearly 39 years now – about 60% of my life’s span. And yet, our kitchen was filled this weekend with the savory aroma of his presence.

In Dad’s memory, I whipped up a batch of navy-bean soup (his idea of haute cuisine) to share with family on the eve of Tony’s birthday – January 31. The process of “sous chef-fing” the soup brought a smile to my lips. I could just imagine how Dad would’ve raised a suspicious eyebrow if I’d told him I was preparing a mirepoix as part of his birthday feast.

He certainly wouldn’t have called it that – the aromatic mix of sautéed vegetables that forms a flavor base for the soup. But he would have noticed if the mirepoix were missing. His mother…and my mother…both routinely used this very combination of ingredients and technique for every soup or stew he enjoyed eating in his lifetime.


A mirepoix-in-the-making: It wouldn’t be “soup” without it…

I can imagine, too, that as we chatted a bit (father to son) about soup and its preparation, I could eventually have turned his suspicion into delight – my fancy word “mirepoix” providing a proof-point that I had in fact gotten my education (as he often encouraged his sons to do). Sure, Dad loved the small-town where he grew up and lived out his life. But he also loved the notion that his offspring would spread their wings…and experience a bit more of what this big beautiful world has to offer.

All of which got me to thinking: A savory mix is an essential part of life, is it not? With or without calling it by a fancy French word, we are blessed by the mirepoix in our life – by the many distinct and individual ingredients that can be brought together and mellowed into a marvelous unity.

This notion became a comfort to me, as I sat with (and chewed on) the beatitudes we hear proclaimed at Mass this Sunday. Taken as a “to-do” list, Jesus’ nine exhortations can easily become overwhelming. If I’m being honest, there’s simply no way I could measure up to every item on the list – no matter how hard I try.

But what if we begin to see the beatitudes less like a “to-do” list, and more like a set of “essential ingredients,” to be stirred and sautéed into a savory experience of the Body of Christ? Anyone who knew my Dad, for example, would easily recognize how he lived out this beatitude during his 60 years on earth:

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.

And I’m grateful to the Holy One for stirring up a different set of “beatitude energies” in my own life:

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy…

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

This is not to say we should excuse ourselves lightly from the task of becoming “beatitude people,” ever-working Jesus’ list from top to bottom.

Rather, it’s more like giving ourselves a chance to enjoy the aroma, already permeating the world around us. It’s about recognizing that we are a Kingdom people, each doing our small-but-distinctive part…to help the Master Chef delight and nourish a hungry world.


Something to savor: A snapshot from the last round of golf I ever played with my Dad, back in 1984.

Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.


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