This wreath from a Williamsburg door reminds me of the bounty of the earth with its sprays of wheat and nestled vegetables and fruit. So this week we will be looking at a Rule of Life Chapter on Food and Drink.
On February 13th the January/February edition of Nourish (http://www.nourishfoodmag.com) will hit the news stands and book stores and will have a photo spread and article about a dinner party at my home with some friends. I have always been a bit jealous of those seemingly happy (nearly delirious) people in magazines whose dinners become a photo spread and now I find myself wondering about food. As the editor was writing her article, she was intrigued about the pottery and about my inability to taste and smell. The pottery, I said, was simply a cook over-functioning. The inability to smell and taste is simply the hardest thing I have ever had to endure.
But I love food and Jesus hosted a meal and asked us to remember his having done so. And we do. Every week. Sometimes every day. Over and over and over again, we remember bread and wine as the central act of what we Christians call church.
So let’s talk about food this week. Let’s write our chapter for our Rule of Life on food this week. What do you think of food? What foods do you love? What drink? What boundaries do you need around food and drink? What does “feast” mean for you? What does “fast” mean to you? What role do you want food to play in your life? What indicators do you notice which tell you that you are “off track” about food? How do you want to live on a planet in which a billion of us are overweight while a billion of us are starving to death? And what does that do to influence your choices about food?
“Take. Eat.” Has anything done in church happened so much in so many situations and for so long? What does eating bread and wine in church really mean to you? And what of the sensuality of food and drink? What do you love and what does loving it mean to remembering to enjoy it? What does eating with others mean to you? What does eating alone mean to you?
This week, pray about food. What do you want to write down so that from time to time, as you read what you have written, you are glad to be reminded of this and of that? What is your “map” regarding food and drink? Go back to the outline questions of the earlier weeks in this blog and reconsider the answers as they might play out for a chapter on food. As you think and pray about food, look over favorite recipes, remember great meals, think on lovely evenings with friends. Feast in your mind on memory and then write, write, write! Write! it’s ok. It’s just a draft! Write.
Here are some of my favorite quotations from the people I read. Many of them have influenced my chapter of my Rule of Life called “Food and Drink.”
For he satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things.
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
“He showed the words “chocolate cake” to a group of Americans and recorded their word associations. “Guilt” was the top response. If that strikes you as unexceptional, consider the response of French eaters to the same prompt: “celebration.”
― Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto
“Music with dinner is an insult both to the cook and the violinist.”
― G.K. Chesterton
“You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
“If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.”
― Julia Child
“I know the look of an apple that is roasting and sizzling on the hearth on a winter’s evening, and I know the comfort that comes of eating it hot, along with some sugar and a drench of cream… I know how the nuts taken in conjunction with winter apples, cider, and doughnuts, make old people’s tales and old jokes sound fresh and crisp and enchanting.”
― Mark Twain
“It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it… and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied… and it is all one.”
― M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating
“The main facts in human life are five: birth, food, sleep, love and death.”
― E.M. Forster
“To eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day.”
― W. Somerset Maugham
“1 billion people in the world are chronically hungry. 1 billion people are overweight.”
― Mark Bittman, Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes
“My wife and I tried to breakfast together, but we had to stop or our marriage would have been wrecked.”
― Winston S. Churchill
“The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world. ”
― Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
“Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.”
― M.F.K. Fisher
“I’ve long believed that good food, good eating, is all about risk. Whether we’re talking about unpasteurized Stilton, raw oysters or working for organized crime ‘associates,’ food, for me, has always been an adventure”
― Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight…
[Breadmaking is] one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with one of the world’s sweetest smells… there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of
meditation in a music-throbbing chapel. that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.”
― M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating
“Cooking is an art and patience a virtue… Careful shopping, fresh
ingredients and an unhurried approach are nearly all you need. There is one more thing – love. Love for food and love for those you invite to your table. With a combination of these things you can be an artist – not perhaps in the representational style of a Dutch master, but rather more like Gauguin, the naïve, or Van Gogh,
the impressionist. Plates or pictures of sunshine taste of happiness and love.”
― Keith Floyd