I’ve been on a food kick lately.
No, I haven’t been eating more of it. I’ve been thinking a lot more about it. It probably started when we watched the movie Food Inc. a few weeks ago. It continued with me reading excellent books like Foodist and The Omnivore’s Dilemma. (Who knew reading about food could be so interesting?) And it has continued with quotes like this from Tim Chester:
Think of your favorite food. Steak perhaps. Or Thai green curry. Or ice cream. Or homemade apple pie. God could have just made fuel. He could have made us to be sustained by some kind of savory biscuit. Instead he gave a vast and wonderful array of foods.
Food is a central experience of God’s goodness …. The world is more delicious than it needs to be. We have a superabundance of divine goodness and generosity. God went over the top. We don’t need the variety we enjoy, but he gave it to us out of sheer exuberant joy and grace. (Tim Chester, A Meal with Jesus)
It’s reminded me again of how good food — no, not the food-like packaged and factory-processed stuff, but real food — is. Not a little good, but over-the-top good. Admittedly, our relationship with food in this fallen world is complicated (hence the movie and books I mentioned), but even now we get a glimpse of the stunning goodness of God in what we eat.
I finished The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan yesterday. In the last section of the book, Pollan prepares a meal from food he has hunted and gathered. He hunts a wild pig, gathers wild mushrooms, and captures yeast from the air to make bread. It’s not the type of meal that he advocates we eat regularly; it’s more of an experiment. The result, though, is almost sacramental. At the beginning of the meal, Pollan offers some words. “The words I was reaching for, of course, were the words of grace.” He writes that the meal became a little like a ceremony:
And there’s a sense in which the meal had become just that, a thanksgiving or a secular seder, for every item on our plates pointed somewhere else, almost sacramentally, telling a little story about nature or community or even the sacred, for mystery was very often the theme. Such storied food can feed us both body and soul, the threads of narrative knitting us together as a group, and knitting the group into the larger fabric of the given world.
This from a non-religious writer.
Grace has often become a mindless habit rather than an acknowledgement that food is good because God is good. He satisfies our hearts with food and gladness (Acts 14:17). As I think about food and read these books, I am saying grace with a lot more gratitude, reminding myself again of how blessed we are with every single bite.