Using Food to Discover the World

Reading and cooking are two of my favorite ways to relax. Give me a suspense mystery and I’m lost to the world for several hours. Give me a new, interesting recipe and I will make a special trip to the grocery store and purchase ingredients to get started immediately. And if my love of reading and cooking are combined—say, I get a new cookbook—I will ignore everything around me as I marvel at the photos and look for good recipes.

These loves are why I signed up to test new and modified recipes for the upcoming revised edition of the Extending the Table cookbook. The cookbook is already a staple at our house. The introduction states, “This collection of recipes and stories invites us to sit with people we have never met, taste the flavors of their food, feel the warmth of their friendship, and learn from their experiences.” Indeed, as I’ve used this book over the years, I’ve felt much more attuned to the world around me.

The revised edition will include colorful photos and recipe revisions, along with several new recipes. Some of my favorites in the cookbook include Bang-Bang Chicken, Rice Noodles with Vegetables, and Dhal. Now that I’ve tested recipes, I’ve added a few more to my list.


Pad Thai already appears in the cookbook, but I tried a revised version with tofu instead of meat. When ordering this dish at Thai restaurants I always request tofu as the protein, and so I was excited to cook with it as well. After stopping at the local Asian grocery to find my preferred size of rice noodles, I grabbed the cutting board and heated the wok. I was thrilled when the dish turned out to be both simple to make and tasty to eat. The tofu was a nice exchange. From now on, that’s how I’ll make Pad Thai.


Mango Lassi is a new recipe for Extending the Table. I was eager to try it because I order one whenever eating at an Indian restaurant. The small, yellow, and soft mangos are my choice because they are sweeter and juicier than other varieties. I found them at my favorite Mexican grocery. I chopped them, measured other ingredients, and gave everything a whirl in the blender. It was another very simple and tasty recipe!


The revised edition of Extending the Table will be available in early summer 2014.  Join me in discovering more foods to expand our worlds!

120127_3988Mary Ann Weber, Managing Editor for Curriculum

Hats off to Resource Advocates!

Resource Advocates are amazing people! We couldn’t do our job at MennoMedia without them. They help to spread the word about new resources and materials, ensuring that our products are promoted in local congregations. They are committed to creating awareness of various resources and how churches can benefit from using them. Most amazingly, Resource Advocates volunteer their time to do so.


Resource advocates enjoy conversation and camaraderie during last year’s conference. Photo by Michael Spory.

Resource Advocates are representatives of the area conferences of Mennonite Church USA. They had their annual meeting this past weekend in Pennsylvania, along with staff from other Mennonite Church USA agencies. Each agency introduced new materials and resources, and the Resource Advocates asked questions. How will a particular resource work with children? How will adults best connect around this topic? What tips can be given to users to make the resources more effective?  This information is taken back to the conferences and shared with others.

Though I was unable to attend this recent meeting, I continue to hear stories of Resource Advocates and their amazing efforts. One Resource Advocate visits various churches to promote MennoMedia’s vacation Bible school materials. This year, Breathe It In: God Gives Life, focuses on Bible stories about God’s life-giving breath, as well as stories about wind that teach us important lessons. The Resource Advocate who promotes this curriculum helps VBS leaders better understand how to use it and how it can be most effective in their VBS programs. In turn, users share helpful ideas regarding how to run a VBS program. Everyone benefits!

Several Resource Advocates write columns in their conference newsletters. These columns review materials available from all the Mennonite Church USA agencies. Through the reviews, people become aware of resources that interest them and will help congregations be effective in their ministry to each other and to the community.

One Resource Advocates visits with new pastors and tells them about the agencies of Mennonite Church USA that she represents.

Amy Gingerich and Ben Penner from MennoMedia attended this weekend’s training. They report feeling lots of excitement from the Resource Advocates around new resources—especially for our new Shine: Living in God’s Light curriculum, vacation Bible School materials, and Dig In: Thirteen Scriptures to Help us Know the Way. Resource Advocates affirmed bringing together print and video materials, as in Dig In, and they can’t wait to know more about what the new Shine curriculum will look like.

So, as you can see, Resource Advocates provide a valuable service to the agencies and their conference congregations. My hat is off to you!

Do you know who your Resource Advocate is? How can they help your congregation in your ministry?

Mary Ann Weber