Christmas gifts that count. December 10, 2012Posted by ourfriendben in chickens, pets, wit and wisdom.
Tags: Abbey of Gethsemani, Christmas gifts, Heifer International, Plants-4-Hunger, Trappists
‘Tis the season to be giving. Silence Dogood here. Our friend Ben and I like to make our Christmas gifts count, to give things that have value beyond the gift itself. It makes us feel better about spending all that money on presents if we know they’ll not only please the recipients but support a cause we believe in.
There are several ways to do this. You could, of course, make a donation in each recipient’s name; the person will typically receive a gift card from the orgnization. OFB’s Aunt Betty likes to gift people with donations to Heifer International (last year, she appropriately donated a chicken in our name). There’s also a vegetarian/vegan-friendly version of Heifer International called Plants-4-Hunger (A Well-Fed World, www.AWFW.org). Or you could donate to the Humane Society or animal shelter of your choice, or the Southwest Indian Foundation, or you name it.
We, however, like to both benefit a worthy cause and give the folks on our Christmas list something to enjoy. So we buy cheese, fudge and (gack) fruitcake (for those who insist they like it) from the monks of the Trappist monastery of Gethsemani in OFB’s mama’s native Kentucky. The monks make everything themselves, and sales of their food support the monastery (which happens to be the one where Thomas Merton lived and wrote).
We think their mild and pesto cheeses are delicious (the aged cheese is a bit strong for us, and we typically don’t go for smoked cheeses so we’ve never tried theirs). And their chocolate-pecan-bourbon and brown sugar-walnut-bourbon fudges are out of this world. (They have other flavors—plain chocolate, raspberry, lemon, and chocolate mint julep—but we haven’t tried them; why mess with perfection?) The monks make the only fudge I’ve ever tasted (apart from artisanal fudge) that actually tastes homemade, not gluey/plastic and artificial. Ugh!
My brother gifted me with the monks’ mild and pesto cheeses and chocolate-pecan-bourbon fudge for my birthday this year, and needless to say, OFB and I were ecstatic. (I, er, actually hid the fudge in the back of the fridge so we could enjoy it at Christmas; otherwise you-know-who would have wolfed it down in a week. Hope you’re not reading this, Ben!)
OFB and I fall in the “get even, give fruitcake” category—we never met a fruitcake we didn’t hate—but OFB’s father and brother love fruitcake, as does my father, so we dutifully send the monks’ award-winning fruitcake (along with some cheese and fudge to soothe our fruitcake-hating consciences) to them each year.
We suggest that you check out the monks’ offerings for yourself at www.monks.org. And if anybody has the nerve to try the monks’ aged cheese (my parents’ favorite, yow) or smoky cheese, please let us know what you think of them. And if you place an order, make sure you reserve some of that mild and pesto cheese and chocolate and brown sugar bourbon fudge for yourself. Hey, don’t you deserve a Christmas present?
‘Til next time,