Talk to the Animals

st-fSt. Francis is the patron saint of animals. On Sunday, October 2nd, thousands of people and animals of every type gathered at New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine for the saint’s feast which includes the annual Blessing of the Animals.  It’s a hoot, or, more correctly, a yowl, bark, snort and whinny.

There were lots of incredibly well-behaved dogs (and a few cats) in attendance, each sporting a red carnation.  Zoe, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel sat quietly behind us; down the row a large lab wagged herself silly;  everyone smiled benignly at the occasional outbreak of barking.

During the event, I had several sneezing attacks which my friend insisted was  a coatimundi allergy.

South American Coati at Iguazu Falls

baby coatimundi

(For those not in the know, a coatimundi is a racoon-esque mammal with a ring-tale.) This particular coati  was among the more exotic animals in the procession that included a camel, cow, horse, kangaroo, goats, hawks, owls, a huge tortoise aboard a rolling dolly, a peacock, rabbits, a fox and other birds and beasts.. The highlight, though probably not for her or her handlers, was when Peggy, a white llama, lay down in the aisle next to our seats and would not be budged. Finally, when the procession traversed back up the aisle and a cow almost tripped on her, Peggy arose and agreed to depart. Clearly, she had other plans for the day.

Peggy, not even remotely interested in marching along

Peggy, not even remotely interested in marching along

 

In addition to the regular service and the animals there were dancers, puppets, music set to sounds of the tundra wolf, humpback whale, harp seal and more. Churches all over bless animals in honor of St. Francis but none does it in more style than St. John’s.

 

Since we spent the day honoring animals, it seems wrong to include a meat recipe. Herewith, something that doesn’t involve anything with a face or a mother:

veg-chili

Chunky Vegetarian Chili (courtesy Cooking Light)

 

Serves 8 (if you want less, decrease proportionately)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 cups chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 16-ounce cans stewed tomatoes, juice and all

2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

Get out that can opener!

In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell peppers, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add sugar and remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Serve in mugs or bowls with a salad, bread,  taco chips or what you will.

Be sure there’s water in your pet’s bowl.  For you, a glass of wine.

 

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Talk to the Animals

  1. Jessica Clerk says:

    And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street!

    Great post, M. Next year, will have to try and make it. One hopes the kitties got the blue ribbon and are feeling beatific.

    Buon viaggio.

  2. Elayne Glotzer says:

    Mari,

    That was too delightful for words. Where the heck was this? Love, love,love this
    blog. Keep them coming. I hope to see you one of these days!

  3. Eileen says:

    Mari–Thanks for the recipe and the smiles! (Having had my own experiences with very stubborn llamas, I can appreciate!)

  4. Tamara Beck says:

    Have always wanted to go to one of these. Nice report.

  5. Francie Lund says:

    From Francie in South Africa: What sanity this wonderful blog on the animals brings to the world. I will try out the dish in Umgeni Game reserve next weekend – in celebration of my brother’s 70 th birthday. Love, Francie