Venetian pork roast with spiders, rosemary, apricots and opera: the Sabine Farm on a Saturday evening

The joys of The Sabine Farm are manifold.

It is my great pleasure to receive guests. For a few all too short days I have been blessed with a visit from a dear friend who I got to know from when he taught at the Biblicum in Rome (he lived in my residence for a year). He reluctantly returned to his billet at Fordham in that big city, but we maintain close contact.

We have been enjoying splendid Sabine weather and silence punctuated by crickets and frogs. We are having now perfect cool still evenings with very few insect invaders. Did you know that the collective noun for mosquitos is "a scourge"? In these parts, if you don’t know that word you know the concept all too well. But nothing of that has materialized, thus leaving us to the deck and our long conversations and meals.

Anyway, the mornings have been filled with dew, glittering sunlight, lots of Latin in the chapel and hard starched linens and brocade followed by garden watering and big American breakfasts. Reading and writing has the major share of the day’s attention until one seeks the gym and then, after harvesting some items from the aforementioned garden, preparation for the evening repast begins in earnest.

After 1st Vespers, tonight found us dining on a favorite preparation, which recipe I obtained in Venice (the one in Italy): Pork roast with apricots and rosemary in white wine (tonight a Vernaccia). Sabine guests of the past who are reading this will know the stuff, I think, though I haven’t made it for a long time. I served it in the form of medallions set about with the fruit in its sauce, fresh sprigs of rosemary for their personality and fragrance, and with roasted potatoes. I uncorked a 2000 old vine Zin, which was soft enough to leave the pork its character and complex enough to handle the rosemary. Some RM VSOP followed with the help of an Upman stored in the humidor also since 2000 (thanks Mom!); nearly two inches of perfectly symetrical ash at one point!.

For the evening, we discussed and redacted my upcoming sermon I will be preaching in the cathedral at Camden (NJ) for the Feast of the Assumption (during a solemn "Tridentine" Mass with Gregorian chant and polyphonic music). My guest was of great help in this regard. He gave me insights into the Magnificat which will stay with me the rest of my life (I worked them into the sermon with his excellent help). I think this homily will respond well to The Cafeteria’s plea for help. (Don’t worry Gerald! Help is on the way! Believe it or not I was forced to live with David Haas, who was "composer" in residence at the seminary I did hard time in in the USA back in the day. I always checked my shoes when leaving the chapel after "liturgy".)

In any event, the rest of our bucolic Sabine evening was spent listening to classic recordings of operatic tenors performing true bravura set pieces while watching a spider busy on a different sort of web. It was fine.

Yes… the Sabine Farm.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Catholic Lady says:

    Each time you post these evenings of repast at the farm, I think it is an occasion of sin for me – how grave a sin is envy?

    Ah, the folks in Camden are in for a treat Tuesday of a more spiritual meal than the one you served up at the farm.

  2. Henry Edwards says:

    I will be preaching in the cathedral at Camden (NJ) for the Feast of the Assumption (during a solemn “Tridentine” Mass with Gregorian chant and polyphonic music).

    I hope and trust that a text and or recording (preferably both) will be made available to us.

  3. Argent says:

    I’m glad you’re having balmy weather there. Wish I could’ve been a fly on the wall to listen into your conversation. I look forward to your posting the homily. Hint, hint.

  4. Jon says:

    “I will be preaching in the cathedral at Camden (NJ) for the Feast of the Assumption (during a solemn “Tridentine” Mass with Gregorian chant and polyphonic music).”


    I can’t tell you how happy I was to read this. I was there at the Mass last year, and I’ll be there on Tuesday. It was a wonderful event, and this year it’ll be made all the better by your preaching, I’m sure.

    Looking forward to finally meeting you!

  5. animadversor says:

    Can you tell us at what time is the Mass at which you’ll be preaching?

  6. I believe it is in the evening. I will be going where and when they point.

  7. Séamas says:

    Envy may be a sin, but I think bragging may be a worse one. Father? :)

    I myself will be going to a solemn Tridentine High Mass tonight for the Vigil of the Assumption, barring certain unforseen circumstances. A solemn Pontifical High Mass, in fact, celebrated by His Excellency Basil Meeking (I’ve been to a solemn Novus Ordo celebrated by him, and I like him. Excellent homily about restoring Catholicity and tradition to the Church). I will be making my consecration to the Blessed Virgin (a la Montfort) at this mass. I hope my new digital camera gets here in time, so I can take pictures.

    This mass will have Byrd propers, since the William Byrd festival is going on in Portland right now.

    For anyone in Portland, OR, the mass is at St. Patrick’s at 7:30 pm tonight.

  8. If you have the chance to greeting Bp. Meeking on my behalf, please do so cordially. I know him and he is a fine gentleman.

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