Steel cut oats with butter and salt remains one of my favorite foods, even without the senses of taste and smell. A simple food; it is comforting, iconic, uncomplicated and filling.
On a planet that can feed 10 billion and on which 8 billion now live, simple foods help me to live with myself. I know, intellectually, that the way I choose to live is contributing to the starvation on this planet. I know that I participate in systems which barricade food and medicine in one part of the planet while other parts languish under shortages and financial poverty. And without Sally Struthers holding fly-ridden children with skeletal faces and distended bellies, there remains no one on television who reminds me that grinding poverty moans under the weight of starvation.
As a teacher, in Haiti in the 1980’s I watched some of the kids in my class waste away. They would hand in papers with black smudges on them and I knew right away. The black smudges were from their hands which had scratched their heads to which black shoe polish was applied to cover the red hair which indicated the final weeks of life before death by starvation. One day soon I would call their name and nobody would answer in the roll call of morning assembly. That changes a person.
When I eat steel cut oats I try to feel the weight in the bowl. There is food in the bowl and it is miraculous to think that my body is complex enough to translate it into life-energy.
People think that generosity emerges from bounty, but it does not. It emerges from gratitude for the bounty. And it is advanced spirituality.