The Theology of Food: Eating and the Eucharist

No one makes molé to eat alone. That fact is central to Dominican monk Angel Méndez Montoya’s creative and enlivening book, which begins with a friend’s recipe for molé. The recipe lists 33 ingredients, each of which must be individually prepared before being ground into a paste and finally combined with still more ingredients to make a sauce. One bite of molé, Méndez contends, contains the entire world. And molé should always be eaten in communion with others, preferably in celebration.

For Méndez, molé is a metaphor for theology. Theology should be a process of nourishment that takes complex ingredients—“material and spiritual, individual and cultural, the body and the senses, meaning-making and desire”—and combines them into a whole. Like molé, theology should enliven and awaken us, leaving us more nourished and more ready to do God’s work in the world.

 

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