In addition to memorable Sabbath meals, Sabbath at the Spectrum Café features fresh perspectives on food, community and unique stories surrounding vegetarian cuisine.
When I was in high school, lunch period was usually the worst time of the day. After being ridiculed for eating a pork sandwich and being Catholic, I stopped eating lunch at school. I didn’t want people to judge me for the food that went in my mouth and for my religious beliefs. Eventually, I drove myself away from God, becoming an atheist.
In March of my senior year, with medical school as my ultimate goal, I applied and was accepted to La Sierra University. It did not take long for me to convince myself that I would only go there to get my medical school prerequisites out of the way—as if LSU were a last resort. My good friend invited me to check out the university campus with her, and on the way there, I was ready to give her my speech about why I had decided to attend other schools. Yet I couldn’t muster up the courage—I didn’t want to be a Debbie Downer to her Pollyanna Positive.
But stepping onto campus, my friend and I were welcomed with open arms. It dawned on me that the kindness of the tour guide was the complete opposite of how I was treated at my high school. “They’re just being nice because they want me in,” I endlessly admonished myself. However, the more I was introduced to other students and staff, the more I was convinced that La Sierra had something to offer beyond just a degree. I decided to take a leap of faith.
My first year was rough. Just as in high school, I ate minimal meals when with others, still fearing judgment. I questioned God, debated whether or not he was real, forced myself to worship, but seemed to inevitably walk away with his good word. Against my best efforts, I found myself loving what I didn’t want to become: a Seventh-day Adventist.
Near the end of my freshman year, I was invited to a beach vespers hosted by the LSU School of Business. I still remember how nervous I was while driving to the event, because I was afraid to be judged. Treading sand through my toes as I walked to camp fire, I took a deep sigh, clutching my beach blanket and sweater.
As I neared the school’s canopy, out stepped Dean Johnny Thomas, who chimed, “Welcome! Come right in and eat! There is plenty of food to go around!” On the table were wonderful treats brought by the students. I particularly liked the monkey bread. The School of Business students were hospitable, inviting me to sit with them next to the bonfire and asking me questions with honest curiosity and open ears. Their simple actions of generosity and friendship helped me in my first steps back to Christ. Later that year, I was baptized as a Seventh-day Adventist, and learned to realize that his faith in and love for me was greater than the horizons ahead of me.
Below is a recipe for Monkey Bread, from my good friend Kristine Barker. She prepared it for a vespers that we attended—like the one that first made me feel at home among strangers.
Charmidale Tuazon—aka Charm—is an alumna of La Sierra University, and is working on her graduate degree in finance. She has been a member of La Sierra University Church for five years. Her favorite Bible verse is Matthew 17:20: "You don't have enough faith," Jesus told them. "I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it would move. Nothing would be impossible" (NLT).
Photo credit: Charmidale Tuazon
This week’s recipe for Monkey Bread comes from Charmidale Tuazon. Imagine pulling off a still-warm doughy piece, dripping with gooey indulgence. Using premade pudding mix and frozen dinner rolls makes the prep process surprisingly effortless.
Total time: 45 min.
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or vegan buttery sticks, such as Earth Balance
1/2 cup brown sugar, or to taste
1/3 cup and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, or to taste
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 package of cook and serve butterscotch pudding mix
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup pecan halves
1 package (18-20) frozen dinner rolls (dough)
1. Melt the syrup ingredients (butter through pudding mix) in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Set aside.
2. Spray a Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.
3. Place the pecans at the bottom of the pan, then lay the dinner rolls on top. Pour the hot melted syrup over the rolls.
4. Allow the dough to rise, covered with wax paper, for 6-8 hours.
5. Bake for 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, then carefully invert onto a plate.