I was lamenting to a friend earlier today about having nothing specific I was really wanting to blog about today. I have lots of posts started (seventy plus, actually), but none of them are calling to me to finish them. So, almost without hesitation, he suggested that I write about bacon. Bacon? Why Bacon? Because that’s what came to his mind. So, I accepted the challenge, and will write about…bacon.
In a future post or two I plan on sharing my “loaves and fishes” experiences from this summer. There are so many times that God provided in the arena of food for my team that it’s been a daunting prospect to get it all down into one cohesive story. There are the “miracle barrels”. There’s the money that never ran out even though it probably should have. There’s the bread that never went bad. The bananas that only went bad when there were just enough left to make banana bread. So many truly miraculous things. And then…there was the bacon! No, really! I am going to be able to share a moving tale about bacon even though this was a topic challenge off the top of my friend’s head!
Bacon. Most TMI teams take the majority of the food they’ll need for the summer from Florida. And they haul it all the way to wherever the team will spend the summer…the Ukraine, Wales, Brazil, Camaroon, etc. And they do that because it’s cheaper and you’re guaranteed the food to feed your team. My team would be taking lots of supplies (shoes and other items) which are not readily available in Zambia. So, in order to make room for these supplies, it was determined that my team would purchase its food when we got to Zambia. Having never been to Zambia, I didn’t have any idea what it would mean to “shop for food” there. I had learned that food was extremely expensive, especially meats. So, I talked with the woman in charge of the food warehouse at “boot camp” in Florida. We decided that I’d take 70 pounds (one large duffel bag) of meats and other things that would be nice to have in case staples were hard to come by (like some cookie and cake mixes – I had SEVEN birthday girls that were going to need something special on their special days!). So we set about deciding what to bring. I loaded up cans of chicken, and beef. Some vacuum packed bags of tuna. Some pepperoni and salami. Some (gag!) SPAM. A few freeze dried chili mixes and some freeze dried cheese sauces since they were lightweight). AND I threw in three boxes of pre cooked bacon. They, too, were fairly lightweight. I’d never really seen pre-cooked bacon, but I’d heard it was good. So I figured it might come into good use. The boxes measured about 16″ X 10″ X 3″. I figured there was probably enough bacon in a box for 30 people to have 2 or 3 pieces each for a good two meals! I WAS WRONG!
(Not a picture of bacon I cooked. A picture I borrowed from a guy by the name of Lenn Thompson which I found searching by Google for “bacon”. Thanks Mr. Thompson for the photo. And the recipes and cooking tips at www.lennthompson.typepad.com are certainly worth checking out in the future!)
As I was saying before I digressed onto Lenn Thompson… I was WRONG! Those boxes didn’t just hold a few servings of bacon! Those boxes held seemingly endless amounts of bacon! And it was AWESOME good bacon, too, mind you. You just quickly fry it up over a brazier, or put it in a big baking pan and bake it until crispy in the oven! Tastes as good as the stuff you cook “from scratch”! We had bacon for breakfast at least three times a week (3, 4, or more pieces!). We had bacon, tomato, and cheese melts. Bacon found its way onto pizza, into sandwiches, and into sauteed green beans. Sometimes I thought my kids would get sick of bacon. But they didn’t. And those three boxes of bacon lasted us FIVE WEEKS. It was crazy! I never counted up just how much those boxes held, but I’ll bet if I did it wouldn’t equal the amount of bacon we actually ended up eating. I’ll bet that we ate enough bacon to have filled six of those boxes.
He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to the sky, he blessed them, and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude.
They ate, and were all filled. They gathered up twelve baskets of broken pieces that were left over. Luke 9:16 and 17
Addendum 10/26/07: Not that I needed the confirmation, but I got confirmation that the bacon boxes were a miracle. This past summer in Sicily, I took more of the same bacon. We stayed right down the road from a grocery store and I had access to a vehicle, so the getting of food wasn’t such an issue as it was in the Zambian bush. There were 27 of us on my Zambia team and three boxes of bacon were way more than enough. In Sicily there were only 15 of us. And I had to feed them for a week less than the Zambia team. I took two of the boxes of bacon. And I had to ration it. We ate it only occasionally. And we ran out at the end! So there! My Zambia bacon miracle was truly a God given miracle…