I have a confession to make —– I love to eat. Those who know are all now writhing from this startling revelation. Well, alright – those who know realize that I am not revealing much of a secret about myself. I am a lover of all things that can be eaten. I have decided in fact that I might even be a bit of a foodie. A quick search of the source of all ‘true facts,’ the internet, will land you on the authority on all matters important – Wikipedia. There you will learn that. “A foodie seeks new food experiences as a hobby rather than simply eating out for convenience or hunger.” That’s me! I always seek out new food experiences and it cannot be motivated by hunger – I don’t think I have missed a meal since 1991. No, I seek out these opportunities because it is my hobby. Some people collect stamps, others play sports…. I eat. A quick look at my ‘body of work’ will tell you that I am a great success at being a foodie. It is going well.
As much as I love finding a new pub, restaurant, bistro, coffee shop, or sushi joint – I enjoy creating meals at home even more. I love to cook. Now this is perhaps a little more of a real hobby. I find time preparing food to be relaxing and I enjoy the challenge of finding new recipes and then changing them to make them into my own. Then at other times I get excited by doing something simple and standard. I feel good when I can plate some comfort food knowing that those who eat it might be reminded of a familiar time or place – a place of comfort.
Tonight for instance I made Pork Roast with Vegetables (from wonderful ingredients from Remarks’ Fresh Markets). ‘My first wife’ and I were in a space where the comforts of a simple meal gave us a sense of reassurance along with nourishment.
So why I am on about food, cooking and the comforts of a table experience? I wanted to share with you in a tongue-in-cheek way, my experience of food because the abundance of food available to me is shocking. The fact that our culture actually has something called a foodie is somehow just wrong. So in deciding that I might be a foodie, what I am really doing is confessing that it is not right for me to refer to my delight in seeking new food experiences as a hobby. It is sinful and just wrong that this culture is able to even celebrate such a notion. In a world where so many are hungry, how can it be right that we can try out foods as hobby? This is not to suggest that I am done with my love, curiosity, and interest in food by the way. Not in the least. It is more of a confession that it is pretty easy to forget how food is readily available to me and scare for others. This little post is to really an assertion that I need to be more food aware, and my prayer that our culture might do the same.
How can we achieve that goal? Lent offers of the discipline of the fast. Fasting is a powerful experience not because of the pains of hunger because those of us who fast are really not hungry. Fasting is an effective spiritual practice when the inconvenience that it heaps upon us might cause us to stop and ponder and perhaps to be intentional about suffering in our world. Perhaps our fasting might remind us of those who fast not as a spiritual discipline but as an economic one. Perhaps our fasting might cause us to act. Perhaps we could be foodies at the local mission. Perhaps we might invite a stranger to dine with us.
As a part of my Lenten journey I have been experimenting with different prayers at meal times. I use a little book titled One Hundred Graces. If nothing else, different prayers at meal times can stir us from complacency and remind us of how very grateful we ought to be and that we ought to respond out of that gratitude.
This book contains graces from around the world and from many cultures and religions. Each day I stop to give thanks for food and I use these beautiful prayers to do so. In response I am looking daily for opportunities to provide another with food – Don’t get me wrong here. – I am just one person making an effort and there have been days that I have failed and fall back on taking food for granted. But with God has my helper, I am working on being more food conscious and more aware of those who hunger. I am hoping that I can redeem the word foodie.
Foodie: A person who understands that the distribution of food in the world is inequitable and as such works to do his/her part to help right the balance.
I like that definition better that the one found on the source of all true facts. Let’s all be foodies and work to address injustices around food in our own community, our culture and in the world.
The prayer that I will use today —-