Thomas Becket

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow, for a calorie total of less than 600. On another day this week, eat the meals from a different post, another day of eating 600 calories or less. Eat sensibly the other days of the week. That’s it: a simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

The Beket [sic] Family moved to England from Normandy after William of Normandy became King of England. They were well-known merchants, though not terribly wealthy. Determined to set their son, born 1119/20, on a good career path, they provided him with a good education. Young Thomas had to go to work during his teen years, due to his father’s financial reverses. Through family connections, he landed a job as a clerk, then moved up to a post in the entourage of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Thomas was an able administrator and the Archbishop suggested to King Henry II that he should be Chancellor of England at age 35. King Henry and the Chancellor hit if off and became fast friends. Becket [French version anglicized] was the King’s ambassador, battle-leader, money-manager, and party buddy for years. Becket raked in money and enjoyed a lavish, libertine lifestyle. One problem nagged the King: the Church of England, headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, often thwarted the King’s efforts to curtail its powers. In 1162, Henry took advantage of a vacancy in the post to appoint Thomas Becket, who was not even a priest, to be Archbishop of Canterbury AND Lord Chancellor at the same time. Becket suggested that this might not be a good idea: he would have to take holy orders and would have to carry out the dictates of the Pope, rather than those of the King. In June, he was made a priest and the next day, an archbishop. A change came over Thomas: he became pious, lived more frugally, and embraced the Church. When Becket resigned as Chancellor, the King was most angry. When Becket sided with the Church, the King threatened to confiscate his lands. Fearful of retribution, Becket went to France, where he stayed for six years. The King and the Archbishop reconciled, and Becket was assured that he could safely return to England to resume his duties. He returned to cheering throngs in Canterbury on 1 December 1170. Once there, he excommunicated some of Henry’s allies. The King was in France for Christmas. When he heard of this, he went ballistic in front of his followers. “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?” he raged. Or maybe he said, “What miserable drones and traitors have I nurtured and promoted in my household who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric!” At any rate, four of his trusted knights left Normandy for Canterbury straight away. Told of their arrival on 29 December, Thomas entered the Cathedral, sure that no one could harm him there. He was wrong. The knights pursued him, and when they could not remove him, hacked at him — cutting off the top of his head, then stabbing him and scattering his brains on the floor. Thus testified the several eye witnesses. Europe was horrified by the murder in the Cathedral: Henry was described as a monster, Thomas was hailed as a martyr. His grave became a pilgrimage site — that’s where Chaucer’s band of story-telling travelers is headed in Canterbury Tales. Within months over 700 miracles were attributed to Becket, and he was canonized a mere three years later. Henry was excommunicated, did penance in many different ways, and went on as King. He had never specifically ordered the killing of Becket, but the ‘your wish is my command’ tradition had lead to a grisly death. Leaders should be careful of the effects of their words — they can lead to murder or the attempted overthrow of governments.

For Becket’s Norman roots, a breakfast of typically Norman ingredients. Thomas was martyred just three days after the Feast of Stephen, a martyr who was killed by stones. Thus, Stone Soup for dinner, the ‘recipe’ based on a French Folktale.

Omelette Normande: 174 calories 11 g fat 1 g fiber 10 g protein 9 g carbs 46 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beveragesPB GF  Cooking in Normandy naturally involves apple and cream, even at breakfast. This is the breakfast version of a Norman dessert omelette.

1½ eggs HINT: If you are serving one person, crack three 2-oz eggs into a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Whip up those eggs and pour half of their volume, into a jar with a lid and put it in the ‘fridge for next week.  1½ oz apple, peeled and sliced thinly 1½ tsp heavy/whipping cream ½ tsp butter ¼ tsp sugar ¼ tsp cinnamon 1 oz peach   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water 

Peel and slice the apples and cook them slowly in a saute pan with the butter, sugar, cinnamon, 2 Tbsp water, and a healthy spray of non-stick spray. Add more water if the pan gets dry – you don’t want the apples to stick or scorch. Cook until the apples are almost soft and there is no more liquid in the pan. HINT: You can do this the night before. Whisk the eggs with the cream and a little salt while the apples heat/stay warm in the saute pan. Pour in the eggs and let them cook undisturbed until done. Fold and plate with the peach or other fruit of 11 calories. Picture apple trees in bloom.

Stone Soup: 125 calories 1.4 g fat 4 g fiber 7.5 g protein 21 g carbs 55.6 mg Calcium   PB GF –if using GF bread A recipe based on the old French folktale about ‘making soup out of stones.’ And it tastes good, too.  HINT: Makes 8 servings.

Stone Soup, served with a chunk of granite in each bowl.

½ pound granite or basalt stones, in large pieces – well scrubbed  2 quarts water 4 oz beef, diced 4 oz carrots, peeled and sliced 4 oz cabbage, sliced 4 oz parsnips, peeled and cubed 4 oz green beans, cut to 1” 4 oz red potato, diced 4 oz spinach, chopped 4 oz white beans lots of herbs + salt + pepper  Optional: slice of artisinal rye bread  adds 100 calories

Put the stones in the water and bring to a simmer. Add the other ingredients and simmer until vegetables are tender. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Serve with the bread if you wish.

Ingredients for next week: Breakfast, single portion for Monday …………………………… single portion for Thursday:

3 sections from heart-shaped waffles1.5 two-oz eggs 
almond meal/almond flourcarne adavado
low-fat vanilla yogurtroasted green New Mexico chilis
peach, fresh or canned + pearapple or applesauce
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

Dinner, single portion for Monday:………………………….. single portion for Thursday:

chicken breast, uncookedAndouille sausage + shallot
purchased satay sauce garlic + collard greens
peanut butterfresh thyme + cannellini beans
cauliflower + cherry tomatoestomato + molasses
Sparkling waterSparkling water

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