Thursday, February 21, 2008

the tragedy of southern baptist cuisine

Y'all know I am out of town at a non-profit training this week for work. We are at a lovely little conference center tucked away in the North Carolina woods. I must say, this training is excellent. The other participants and the trainers are all fabulous people, and we're all learning a lot.

There are even other knitters here (you know how we pop out at meetings).

conference knitting 2
Shelly is knitting a hat

conference knitting 1
Jenny is knitting a shawl with locally-grown & dyed yarn

my sweater is making some good progress in this good company.

But the thing here that is not good, that is in fact very, very bad, is the food. It's helping me understand something that has been weighing on me.

When I got here, I was unhappy to find out that the conference center is owned by the North Carolina Baptist Convention. The reason this made me unhappy is that I care pretty deeply about gay rights, and the NCBC has been rather unfriendly towards gay folks in the last few years. You can read all about it some time when you feel like having your blood pressure spike.

This always really gets me upset. It's just mean. Plain old cussed mean. I have never been able to stomach the mean-spirited intolerance among some right-wing churches that leads them to turn people out for just being who they are.

After spending a few days with the NCBC, though, I have to say I finally understand it. It's the no-fiber diet. There is not one ounce of fiber in any of the food here! These poor people must have a BM on a bi-monthly basis. No wonder they're so dang mean and cranky - they must be perpetually constipated!

Really, there are 2 seasonings in the food here: sugar and salt. If it's salty, then it's butter- or meat-based. If it's sugary, then it's white flour- or milk-based. Dear heavens! The things they do to the vegetables are criminal. If a sweet potato has whipped cream and a cherry on top, I think that's a sign that somebody doesn't get the "vegetable" concept. And let me tell you, nobody around here looks very healthy.

I seriously think I started to suffer from malnutrition after a couple of days. Thank goodness one of the other students brought digestive enzymes with her -- I won't go into details, but it was a good thing.

We have been moping a lot at mealtimes, and I think the cooks noticed and took pity on the out-of-town liberals. The salad bar became a bit more colorful later in the week. Then somebody found a health food store in town and I bought some vitamins, peanut butter, granola and oranges to get me through the week. The trainers felt so bad for us that they took us out to dinner at a restaurant in the little two-horse town nearby, which lifted the general morale greatly. I almost stopped whining about the food entirely!

But I'll tell you what, I can't wait to get home to whatever HWWLLB is cooking.

please let me in
All week this little guy has been meowing to come in, while silently I have been meowing to be let out.


  1. No wonder you want to go out for a delicious lunch tomorrow! Sheesh.

  2. oh, my sympathies to you! i feel that way when i visit people sometimes in the surburbs. not that there's a lack of vegetables, just a lack of good ones (so spoiled by farmers' market!).

    at least there is knitting to comfort you...

  3. Quickly and safely home, friend! Then you will feel better. :O) samm

  4. As a former SB (now Episcopalian), I am laughing so hard I can hardly breather. I'll say that there are a LOT of things about the SBC that bug me. Some things seem to be stuck in the 1950s. Food, theology, women's rights, doing better on race relations, and homosexuality, ah, no. 1950s all the way. I remember at my dear father in law's funeral someone brought a "Baptist Pound Cake." What in the WORLD makes it Baptist, I asked. I didn't get an answer, but when asked what an Episcopal Pound Cake would contain I was able to answer in a single word: whiskey.

    You have my sympathies.

  5. We live in Oregon, but the Hubby and I are from Tennessee. Going home gets worse every year. This Christmas we had been there for about 4 days before we said, "Someone, PLEASE, fix us some vegetables!" To which my mother-in-law replied, "We can have some potatoes and beans . . "
    Um, okay. Maybe I should have specified something green. *grin*
    I joke that if it's Southern and a vegetable, then it's probably fried. :)

  6. I would shrivel and die. You have my sympathies. And than you for the insight should I ever be in a (heaven forbid-pun intended) similar situation.

  7. I could not last long on that food. I love me some fiber. Safe travels!

  8. so glad you were able to add some fiber and protein to your NCBC diet! i have to admit when i read the previous post, for some reason i saw "alcohol-free buddhist convention center" and i was very confused that there would be no vegetarian food. now it all makes sense.

    thanks also for being so passionate on gay rights and being willing to state that on your blog.

  9. I believe you have single-handedly solved one of the great mysteries of life. Thanks for the laugh.

  10. let me begin by saying I love your blog and I know nothing about knitting. But I am interested in the environment and just plain love reading your posts. Having said that, I also must say I am a bit dismayed by your post regarding where your seminar took place. I am a conservative Christian, so I guess that makes me one of the bad guys, but you came across like you were making "judgements" on the whole group. I came to PESTED to stuff envelopes even though I knew i was probably going to be in the minority but I went in with an open mind and had a wonderful time and hope to do it again.


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