Thursday, 19 February 2009
Sights Around SLC
The Catholics have their Vatican, the Muslims have their Mecca, us Latter Day Saints have Salt Lake City!! I have wanted to go to the Great Salt Lake for a very long time now and see all the sites and traditional historical venues that have a lot of meaning to my church. This was a very exciting part of my trip and I gobbled it up like a kid gobbles up candy.
My first Saturday away we took it rather easy as I was recovering from the long flight over. After a delicious breakfast of Erin's French Toast and her amazing Buttermilk syrup, I got to go to BYU. If I was a young person of University age I would want to go to Brigham Young University. The church is not very large over here in the UK. Most of our kids go to schools where they may be the only member of our church in that whole school. I think it's wonderful that they have a university that they can go to and feel a part of something that is the rule rather than the exception! In fact I think it was pretty wonderful that I could go to a place like Utah and I could feel like I was a part of the rule rather than the exception too!
BYU is such a beautiful university and very well laid out. I loved touring through the Student Union Building, seeing the bookshop and just taking it all in. We even saw a dance troupe practicing in one of the halls, but I didn't get a picture of it. Now I wish I had.
After that we went to the most amazing restaurant ever. It was called Tucano's Grill and had the most amazing food. There was an all you can eat salad and side dish bar. Waiters kept coming around to the table with long skewers filled with all sorts of grilled meats and poultry . . . there was fillet steak, garlic sirloin, turkey wrapped in bacon, barbecued chicken, ham bites, pineapple and my personal favourite battered cod bits in a mango sauce! They came by over and over again and each time you could have a slice of whatever it was on the skewer at that time. It was amazing, all of it. We rolled out of there stuffed to the eyeballs and spent an easy evening just chatting, playing Wii and enjoying each other's company. (Lura whooped my arse at bowling!)
The next morning saw us getting all gussied up to go into downtown Salt Lake City to see the special program that comes out of the Tabernacle every Sunday called "Music and the Spoken Word." This is the world's longest continuing network Broadcast, having been broadcast over the radio for the first time back in July of 1929. It was a totally amazing experience to sit there and listen and watch in person.
The Tabernacle is the official home of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It is a dome shaped auditorium which is so acoustically sensitive that a pin dropped at the pulpit can be clearly heard at the back of the hall, 170 feet away. It holds one of the world's great musical instruments, a magnificent pipe organ with 11,623 pipes.
Construction on the Tabernacle began in 1863 and ended in 1875. The exterior of the completed building is 150 feet wide, 250 feet long, and 80 feet high. This unique Tabernacle was a marvel of its time. Through the bridge-building technique of Henry Grow, the Tabernacle roof was able to span its 150-foot width without center supports–an amazing achievement in both engineering and acoustics.
It was so wonderful to sit there and listen to the choir sing, and to feel like a part of something large. On this particular day they presented a lovely program of Negro Spiritual Music beginning with "I'm Running On" and culminating with that beautiful song "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands." At the very end they sang, "God Be With You Til We Meet Again" and I think Lura and I blubbered all the way through it. It was such a special and touching moment.
After we left there we were going to Lura's daughter Lynell's place, but of course we took in a few sites along the way.
The grave site of our late and much beloved Prophet, Gordon B Hinckley. Every Latter Day Saint has a favourite prophet and mine is President Hinckley. He was such a wise and loving man, whose whole being radiated love, compassion and wisdom. I was privileged to have seen him in person several times during my time in this church and it was a privilege to be able to visit his grave.
After that we drove up to the place where Brigham Young, after having entered the Great Salt Lake Valley at the end of a long and arduous journey across the plains and mountains raised himself up from his sick bed, and looking out over the valley uttered the infamous words . . . "This is the Place." What a spectacular view and how very cold it was up there on that cold February day!! Lura and I just about froze to death, but it was an amazing experience all the same, and all the better for having been able to share it with Lura!
We were able to go to Lynell's chapel in the afternoon for our Sabbath Day meetings. What a beautiful chapel it was and how nice it was to be part of a large group of people like that! Back here at home we may get 50 or 60 people out on a Sunday, maximum . . . there was literally a few hundred there. It was amazing.
The next day we took in more of the sites of Salt Lake city. We went to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, which used to be a hotel but is now a stately but welcoming building, full of interesting activities for the whole family. The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is one of Temple Square's most popular destinations. It houses two restaurants, a genealogy research center, a theater, and several reception rooms. It is spectacularly beautiful inside, with wonderful columns, carpets and beautiful woodwork. We got to watch the Joseph Smith film, which was a "Ten Hanky Film." I think Lura and I each blubbered all the way through it. It's nice when friends can not only laugh together, but cry together as well!
It was amazing to be able to look down on our much loved Salt Lake Temple and to know that it was only a few hundred yards away.
We had lunch in the Lion House cafe. This used to be a home of the Prophet Brigham Young and after lunch we also went to visit his other house just next door, the Beehive House, which was really interesting as well. A National Historic Landmark, this home has been beautifully restored with furnishings of the 1800's. The Beehive House was built in 1854 and served as home to Brigham Young when he was President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and governor of the Utah Territory.
Room by room, the story of family life in the 1800s unfolds. Rooms include the playroom, the family store, the fairy castle, and the gracious sitting room, where each evening the Young family exhibited their talents and sang and prayed together. A beehive, which is a symbol of industry, sits atop this charming home and reflects Brigham Young's belief in a strong work ethic.
As you can well imagine we were pretty tired after all of that so we all went back to Lynell's and had a lovely supper and enjoyed a Family Home Evening together. It was so wonderful to be a part of that lovely family and to share in this experience with them. Lynell is such a great lady and family is very special to me. They could not have been any warmer or welcoming. I just loved being with them.
Tomorrow it's off to Idaho!
One of my favourite things to make with leftover chicken or turkey is enchiladas! My children always loved these. Easy to make and delicious, they are a real family pleaser!
The recipe calls for corn tortillas, which are mighty tasty, but I often make my own flour tortillas from scratch for this recipe. I could eat these til they come out my ears!
2 cups diced cooked chicken (or leftover turkey)
1 TBS vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 or 3 small whole green chilies, canned or fresh, chopped
1/2 cup tomato sauce (passata)
1 1/2 cups chopped canned tomatoes
freshly ground black pepper
8 corn or flour tortillas
2 TBS vegetable oil, heated
8 ounces Monterey Jack Cheese, grated
(or 8 ounces medium cheddar cheese, grated)
1 cup of sour cream, optional
Heat the TBS of vegetable oil in a large skillet. Saute the onion and garlic in the oil until softened. Stir in the chilies, tomato sauce, and canned tomatoes. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the diced chicken and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Dip the tortillas into the heated vegetable oil quickly, just to soften. Divide the chicken mixture amongst the tortillas and roll. Place in a large, lightly greased flat baking dish. Top with the grated cheese.
Bake until the cheese melts and the enchiladas are hot throughout, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve topped with sour cream if desired.