Church ladies (and the recipe for spiced bacon twists)

Marida Stearns enjoying a spiced bacon twist with her appletini during cocktail hour

“If you brought wine for the wine tasting, it needs to go in the sacristy next to the chapel.”

Well now,  that just says it all. The announcements just after cocktail hour and before the post-dinner continuation of cocktail hour at the 2013 Women of St. Paul’s retreat in Monteagle.

We are church ladies. We maintain the altar, bring food to shut-ins, teach Sunday school and host receptions for the bishop. But we are also Episcopalians. One weekend a year, we are all about the appletinis, Chardonnay and firmly holding to the belief that what happens in Monteagle, stays in Monteagle. I’m pretty sure the Presbyterians are jealous right now. Tomorrow, we will have classes in flower arranging, candle making and belly dancing. If we are energetic, we will go on a hike. If not, we will take a nap. There may be a lingering hangover or two. Thank goodness, there’s Tylenol and Alka Seltzer in the goody bags.

Fun with toilet paper

We will not conjecture as to why Wanda was wearing a toilet paper bandana or why she was getting ready to wrap another one around Betsy’s head. By the way, no one even questioned this. The toilet paper game was extremely interesting, by the way. You pass a roll of toilet paper around and tear off as many sheets as you like. You then find out that for each sheet you have to reveal an interesting fact about yourself. I was especially taken with the woman who was almost run over by Magic Johnson and another woman who was unfairly displaced as a Future Farmers’ of America homecoming queen. No names. As I said, what happens in Monteagle stays in Monteagle. I will however reveal that my answer to the single sheet of toilet paper I took was seeing Charlton Heston in his underwear. Boxers or briefs? I believe I will just let that one be.

But I will say this. In response to Marida’s maddeningly delicious onion dip, I made spiced bacon twists for cocktail hour. I think the duel was a draw, even though I entirely fabricated this entire competition.

Before I get to the recipe, let me say this. You hear the term “church family” thrown around a lot. If you are not religious, you don’t get this at all. It just sounds quaint or trite. But if you have a church family you know that it’s not. These women are part of my family. They are as precious to me as blood. They lift me up. They pick me up. I am not complete without them.

Spiced Bacon Twists (from the Tuck U Inn in Atchison, Kansas)

1 cup packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons dry mustard powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 pound sliced bacon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set a wire rack over the foil. Use a baking sheet that has sides to catch the grease.

In a small bowl stir together the brown sugar, mustard powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Press each slice of bacon into the mixture until coated. Twist each strip a few times and place on the baking rack.

Bake until bacon is browned and crisp enough to hold its shape, about 30-40 minutes.

One Comment

  1. Julie
    February 10, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Toga! Toga! made me laugh out loud and this one leaves me teary. Both equally wonderful. And I LOVE Marida’s Onion Dip, I do, I was cleaning up what little was left in the Hospitality Suite after the cocktail hour, but both of my tickets would have gone into the bacon bag had Donna given us that option!! Those bacon things were incredible.

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