As the focal point of our lives, mealtimes reflect the nature of our shared lives. They are a central space for expressions of love, caring and affirmation through both the provision of nourishment and the conversation that surrounds a meal from preparation to clean-up.
Say the words food and culture in the same sentence, and many people think of foods they’ve never eaten, with names they can’t pronounce: foie gras, crème fraîche, pancetta. Now that vegan is chic, mesclun is modish, and organics have their own grocery chain, even more people are convinced that food culture bel
The prominent place of food and meals in the Bible may be surprising to us fast-food and take-out eaters. Back in biblical times, gathering and preparing food took time and occupied a significant part of Israel’s life. The danger of famine (due to natural calamities or crop failure) gave special importance to food. Water was drawn from a well or spring, not a faucet or commercial bottle. Bread was baked from scratch, and beans and lentils simmered for hours.
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Adela and I were hauling water for the first spring crops—peas, potatoes, spinach and lettuce. With five-gallon buckets in each hand we headed down to the creek, dipped our buckets, hauled them back up the hill, then handed them off to another crew.
The risen Christ breaks bread in Emmaus and then eats fish in Jerusalem. Easter, or at least the first Easter as Luke describes it, is not as much about an empty tomb as about food. Jesus spends Easter Day eating. His followers celebrate Easter not at an empty tomb, but around a table. So we might consider Easter as a multicourse meal rather than a trip to the empty tomb, and experience resurrection by eating.
My first encounter with Christian fasting was in a Russian kitchen in the provincial city of Krasnodar in 1991. It was November and my host, a university professor, was preparing the evening meal at the beginning of the Orthodox fast called Little Lent, which is a bit like what Catholics and Protestants call Advent.
The Marmite centennial in Britain prompts me to develop a thesis: National or creedal groups tend to keep their boundaries strong by pretending to like foods that others find distasteful. Through long conditioning, members find it possible to tolerate the taste of their chosen food.