"I know exactly what to make for the dinner," said Louis Smallton as his wife Clarice sat in the breakfast nook picking shallots out of his "superior concoction."
'The crepes Suzette never et,' she called it, because one flavor overpowered them - just like Louis, who made all the cooking decisions sans regard for her feelings.
Tears filled her eyes. "So what's your great idea?"
"French onion soup, the guaranteed crowd pleaser. Mom's got the perfect recipe. Give her a call." He handed her the phone and cranked the garbage disposal as if to drown out any argument on her part.
Clarice stared at the phone in disbelief. How controlling could one get?
She supposed she should just suck it up and submit to him. Instead she left the room and dialed a different number.
The anticipated date soon arrived. The church doors opened and the banquet hall filled with guests, some bringing diverse platters to share, others coming just to eat. Louis looked everywhere but couldn't find Clarice, who had gotten there early to help set up.
"She never let me near that soup," he muttered as he grabbed an empty seat. "Said it would spoil the surprise. Why is she being so secretive?"
A myriad of tantalizing aromas wafted down from the stage, where seven culinary dishes sat upon an oak table. Pastor Salsa stepped to the podium.
"May I have your attention please. Our Lady of the Cool Cuisine's annual 'Trade Your Fare Feast' is about to begin. A taste of many talents tugs at our palates. But before we dig in, let me introduce a group of select chefs who have collaborated to prepare some special entrees filled with much food for thought. As I read your name, please come up and stand behind your dish."
He proceeded to announce them one by one.
"Grace Gleeheart is first with her Whole Wheat Gospel Loaf. Free from the deadly gravity of Pharisee and Sadducee yeast, it teems with nutrition ideal for lowering high blood pressure. Don't think twice, have a slice.
Next up, for hungry men whose teeth demand a meal with attitude, Grampa Moses humbly presents his No-Fail Quail. This meaty dish will kill your rabid cravings in no time. Perfect for those suffering from runaway rage disorder or other forms of lust-driven insanity.
Moving on, Donna Discipleship's death-to-self broccoli bites, each shaped like a tree, serve as poignant reminders of Eden's garden and the wood on which our dear Lord died to bring us peace. So take up your own cross and eat some. Served with a delicious 'Joy Set Before Him' brand dipping sauce.
Need help repenting? Jolly Jacob's Jumpstart Beans will do the trick. The chemicals they contain promise to swiftly purge your system of the lie that fleshly works earn heavenly rewards. Great for prodigals as well as older brothers prone to take for granted their inheritance in Christ.
To chase down those beans, have one of Non-contrary Mary's 'Angeled Eggs Well Salted,' the scrumptious treats that scream, 'He is exalted!' They're pure wholesome fun wrapped in a pun with just enough No Horsing Around Radish to give an extra kick to anyone who denies the resurrection.
And don't forget Ida Intercessor's Justice-Meets-Mercy Divine Forgiveness Pie, where the bitter herbs of your just desserts meet the honey of the Father's loving kindness. If that doesn't whet your whistle for more of God, what will?
Last but not least we have Clarice Smallton with her - what do you call this?"
Clarice proudly took her place behind the much slaved over kettle.
"This pot contains Fresh Union Soup, my own version of French onion soup minus the cheese. Besides your usual onions in beef broth, it includes many other ingredients - such as carrots, peas, tomatoes, barley, rice and spinach - , all blended together in a way that nourishes the entire body, not just one part. No one flavor dominates this soup. Rather, each individual element contributes to the whole. It's like the union in an onion, only better."
She offered the pastor a taste.
"Mmm, delicious! Everyone has got to try this."
Louis's jaw dropped open. He couldn't believe his wife had done it. She had actually taken an idea of his and made it better - no, more than better. She'd made it a hit.
But that's what potluck was all about, wasn't it?
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