Monday, March 13, 2006

Eating well

Today I want to recommend my friend Kim Korinek’s blog, and a specific entry about eating.

Wonder why food is such a huge issue anyway? I mean, it always has been, throughout human history. Too much food, not enough food, food as love, food as status, food as vice, food as communion.

Maybe it’s just because apparently it’s so essential to survival, but unlike things like breathing, the raw materials necessary require a great deal of work to produce. Housing is another one like that, but once you have housing you’re set for a while. Food is something we have to re-get on an ongoing basis.

So that means we have to re-think our interaction with food on an ongoing basis. It’s never static, or at least it hasn’t been for me. I’m finding new things to delight me about food all the time, and hearing new things to frighten me. What’s good? What’s bad? How much enjoyment is too much?

I love what the Bible says about this. Here’s a passage from The Message paraphrase:

... Eat anything sold in the butcher shop ... ; you don't have to run an "idolatry test" on every item. "The earth," after all, "is God's, and everything in it." That "everything" certainly includes the leg of lamb in the butcher shop. If a nonbeliever invites you to dinner and you feel like going, to ahead and enjoy yourself; eat everything placed before you. It would be both bad manners and bad spirituality to cross-examine your host on the ethical purity of each course as it is served. On the other hand, if he goes out of his way to tell you that this or that was sacrificed to god or goddess so-and-so, you should pass. Even though you may be indifferent as to where it came from, he isn't, and you don't want to send mixed messages to him about who *you* are worshipping. ... So eat your meals heartily, not worrying about what others say about you -- you're eating to God's glory, after all, not to please them. As a matter of fact, do everything that way, heartily and freely to God's glory.

--I Corinthians 10

This reminds me of a time when I was visiting New York City about ten years ago. When wandering through SoHo, a friend and I found a Japanese art gallery. Not one of the people manning the gallery spoke English, but they were so welcoming and loving.

We looked and admired, and then noticed they were setting something up on the floor nearby. With gestures, they invited us to join them. We sat, and an elegant ceremony took place. They showed us how to move the cups and what to do with each little unrecognizable food item. Then, they offered me a steaming cup of strangely scented unusually colored liquid.

Now, I’ve always been very careful about what I ingest in the sense of caffeine and alcohol. I avoid both, just because I never developed a taste for them and don’t want to start now. My friend knew this, and smiling, watched me closely. She was also clueless as to what the liquid was, but had no inhibitions about trying it.

I looked at the welcoming happy faces of my Japanese hosts, and realized it just didn’t matter in this setting what the liquid was. These folks were sharing so effortlessly with us, with such humility, there was no way I would refuse their offering. So, I drank.

You’ll laugh to find out this was my first encounter with green tea. But it’s stayed with me as a moment I’m actually proud of. I’d been to many parties where I’d refused the wine offered, I hope without undue rudeness. But this time I put aside my inhibitions and “rules” for the sake of my hosts.

I guess my point is, that food is best when it’s linked with Love. When it’s an offering of Love to each other, a communal bonding. Yet, how seldom do we eat or drink that way?

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 3/13/2006 09:43:00 PM, Blogger Kiran Paranjape said...

Many thanks for your review of my blog
This entry about food, I find particularly interesting.
I have always been thinking about the healthy food that the people in different countries are getting. There are affluent countries in the world where overweight is the problem & people are trying hard to shed excess weight. On the other side there are also countries where people fight to get one square meal a day. If we all keep a part of our earning for the needy & poor, I feel it help reduce this disturbing scene. Let me know your thoughts on this.

At 3/13/2006 10:45:00 PM, Anonymous Emily said...

Kiran, I think you have just given me a beautiful answer to a question that's been bugging me for several days.

I have been trying to reconcile my desire to lose a few pounds with my efforts to practice Christian Science. When I diet, am I reflecting self-control (a good thing) or taking too much thought for my body (a bad thing)?

I think that whether I diet is not the problem, but why I diet is. I do not need to lose weight so I can look prettier. I need to lose what the excess weight represents: my need to be a better steward of the resources I have been given. If I am overweight, it means I have more than I need. Instead of greedily consuming my surplus, I should be sharing it.

To that end, I am going to put a jar on the kitchen counter. Every time I exercise restraint by drinking a can of Slim-Fast, I will take the money I would have spent on a calorie-laden breakfast or lunch at a restaurant and put it in the jar instead. Once a month, I will collect the money from the jar and give it to a homeless shelter or a food pantry.

I expect we'll all benefit. Thank you for the inspiration.

At 3/14/2006 06:13:00 AM, Blogger Laura said...

wonderful comments, guys! and I think that's what Kim's entry was all about, too. you're all on the same wavelength.


At 3/22/2006 10:13:00 PM, Blogger Kim said...

Thanks Laura for posting my entry on your blog -- I love what Kiran and Emily have to say! I am practicing this as well.


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