I don't know what the deal is, but I've been on a food high recently. Maybe it's from preserving the apples, plums, and tomatoes of mid-September. Maybe it's having all these delicious fruits and veg (as the British say) on hand, the tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, onions, corn, peaches, plums, and apples of Green Bluff bounty. Whatever it is, I just LOVE food. My parents wonder who in the world Elizabeth Brink really is...did my mom really give birth to this crazy foodie?
But really, at the heart of my love for food is something intrinsically related to how God loves us. Food can be bland and stingy and unexciting. But the kind of food I'm trying to prepare, the kind of food I watch being prepared on the British TV show River Cottage, the kind of food I read about on various food blogs is incredibly like God's character. It bursts with generosity and goodness and hospitality. It's rooted in love. Love of the earth, sure, but most of all a deep love of the people who carry the Imago Dei.
Here's a quote I found thought-provoking. It was at the front of the cookbook The Sprouted Kitchen by Sara Forte.
"I still think that one of the pleasantest of all emotions is to know that I, I with my brain and my hands, have nourished my beloved few, that I have concocted a stew or a story, a rarity or a plain dish, to sustain them truly against the hungers of the world." ~M.K. Fisher
There are a number of things I love about this quote. But I'll start first with where it falls short. Mary Fisher mentions the brain and the hands creating meals to nourish, but she doesn't mention the heart. To me, cooking, and the rest of her quote, hinges on the heart. It's the love from our hearts that we pour into making food and giving it away, not just the cerebral knowledge or the muscle memory. That said, the rest of the quote is fabulous. We nourish people not just with a concocted stew, but with stories. Human beings are nourished by relationships, which happen over food and through stories.
The next part of the quote that I find so great is this: we nourish not just with rarities like perfectly cooked steaks and New York cheesecake, but also with plain dishes...with Kraft Mac and Cheese and home-canned peaches, after-a-long-day-of-work scrambled eggs and hasty blueberry muffins. We are nourished by the ordinary, every day stuff through which our lives of faith are built. Consistent and sacrificial decisions to be generous and to open the blocked caves of our hearts to the light and life of God's love that drives us to love our neighbors like we love ourselves.
So I invite you to join this wild ride called faith and let every deed you do rise up as a prayer of love to the God who is the giver of all good gifts.
And enjoy your next meal with gusto.