If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him … the people who give you their food give you their heart – Caesar Chavez
There are few things earthy-er than food and it is easy to see food as simply a utilitarian substance. Remember when we discussed the secular and the sacred? With this kind of split thinking (which is hugely influenced by Plato and Greek culture) permeating the west, food, one of our most carnal desires, most certainly must be secular. No questions asked.
However, with hearts that look at creation as something good, with a vision of reform and renewal, even food can be an instrument of reconciliation. Of Eden. Food is just one more way for us to reflect the coming kingdom and our true purpose here on earth.
Whether it’s in the effort to put a beautiful tablescape together, the sweat of an honest and hardworking farmer, or the baker striving for beauty in their next creation, food matters. Whether you are the gardener, cook, pastry chef or the consumer, you have the opportunity to strive for goodness, truth, and beauty. Food is neccesarry to survival, that much is true. But do not be fooled into thinking food is simply a means of survival. Many things unseen can take place in the kitchen and around the table. Many things unseen within our soul. It isn’t a coincidence we affiliate certain flavors and smells with particular events or memories. Food matters.
This could easily become a rant on commercial farming and The Man. And as much as I rant on these things in the everyday life, I will spare you. I want to talk about the broad view, not so much the specifics. I want to talk about the skeleton and let you do the fleshing out. Truth is, not all of us have the funds to shop organic, the means to engage in local business, or the time to research. That is okay. Not everyone is going to be passionate about food and its origin. Not everyone pours over cookbooks for fun or is growing tomatoes in the backyard. That’s the beauty of God’s design, we’re all making our own art, whether that be in a bank or a classroom.
And yet, I do think as stewards of the earth, we ought to be at least somewhat educated as to where and how our food gets to our plate. It doesn’t need to be the hill you die on but as an image bearer, all of creation should bear significance. This extends to the food in the ground, the animals on the land and the hard working harvesters.
Like all things, this topic has the potential to become all consuming. Detrimental instead of helpful. If you are passionate about ethical trading, farming, or agriculture, let your passion be a blessing. If someone offers you a cup of coffee, don’t ask where the beans are from. If someone invites you to their home, graciously accept the work of their hands, even if all they did was open up a Costco bag. Snobbery and elitism isn’t the answer.
If you are passionate about food, whether that be outside the kitchen or inside the kitchen, let your passion be an instrument. Remember when we talked about vocation? Find the sweet spot where your passion lies in serving others, for this is where heaven meets earth. Maybe you can serve others by fighting for the legalization of raw milk in your state (some of you are rolling your eyes. Bear with me.) Maybe you can serve others through joining the Slow Food movement. Or maybe you simply love baking pies. Make the best pie you can. Love on others through your craft, striving for goodness, truth, and beauty. When it’s your kid’s birthday, make a great cake or support someone who likes to bake by purchasing their great cake. As truth seekers and beauty makers, we of all people should be able to see the significance in good wine. Hearty meals. Savory cheese and creamy desserts. Because we know it’s significance. We know it’s part of our humanity to cultivate creation and enjoy creation. The heart finds much joy in celebrating it’s purpose, even if that’s growing or eating good food.
PS the pic above is stolen from a very good cupcake recipe, found here
Here are some resources I have enjoyed and been blessed by,
Shauna Niequist and her book Bread and Wine
This book is a game changer, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
Jenny Rosenstrach and her blog, Dinner: A Love Story
The story of Sunday-Suppers (and their wicked style)
This solid cookbook, The Nourished Kitchen
Realmilk.com (don’t laugh. Maybe I wouldn’t say “blessed by” but it’s important)
The book, Nourished Traditions
And (sorry one more book), Death By Food Pyramid