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Fourth Consideration: Food.

My holiday meals have been described as "foo-foo."  Our brussel sprouts with blue cheese and bacon, two kinds of stuffing, a brined organic turkey.  The triumph was last year's Thanksgiving - making 13 dishes from scratch.  It was a far cry from Stoffer's stuffing and green bean casserole.

I don't say this to alienate, segregate, or manipulate.  We cook this way because first and foremost, I have a soy intollerence, and almost every preservative laden food has soy in it.  If I chose the convenient way, I would be sick almost every day. It's amazing how for so long I chose to live with a stomach ache thinking it was normal.  Secondly, the food made with our hands just tastes better.  As declared on Facebook last night - I'm obsessed with cauliflower.  I used to hate it, but people like Molly Wizenberg taught me how to caramelize it ... there is no going back to ranch dip and dried out veggie trays.

We, my husband and I, have been challenged to move beyond the two main food groups of sweet and salty.  Our world and our souls have been pushed to recognize the bitter, spicy, and sour (and this expands outside of our stomachs as well). Our pantry is full of homemade delicacies like white wine, vanilla bean, apricot jam, and zucchini relish from the last of our summer bounty.  We're using what we have and moving beyond processed foods to actually being part of a process. A process that seems so radical, yet so many are part of it every day and many more bow out of it too.

Is this foo-foo?  Maybe, but I don't see any other way forward for my family.  By embracing the realities of the five tastes, I have reawoken my God-given senses as well. I play with the sight, sound, feeling, smell, and then finally the taste of my food.

This journey has made me keenly aware of how we spend our money and time on food; of how our healthcare system doesn't educate us about food, or worse, misleads us.  This whole process has connected me to a bigger system of my neighbors, my farmers, and my own back (and front) yard. Some scream for immigration reform, but don't realize why their tomatoes are so cheap and the abuse that came with them.

Christmas requires a certain part of our souls to awaken - a generous, compassionate side.  Most non-profits and retail stores alike move into the black during this time of year, but what about our farmers and our own bodies?  We shift into survival mode making sure stores are visited, the fridge is full, cookies are consumed, and checks are written, but do we peel back the layers to know why we do this or how it became this way?

When did becoming conscious of what we put in our bodies become foo-foo?

It's not that I want to live in extremes -- I love french fries.  I understand the limitations of quality vegetables being delivered by zip codes.  But the reality is that by making french fries cheap and pizza a vegetable, we have also delievered a larger message that cheap and easy is okay.  Convenience is king or necessity because of systematic marginalization. I shouldn't have to say this, but these messages then transfer over to be about more than just food.

If I ate french fries every day, I would get sick. Our bodies, our farms, and this nation's citizens and immigrants are all crying out for a more sustainable way.  But sustainable doesn't always mean fast or how long something can sit on a shelf.

Sustainable means thinking about the world seven generations from now; that, "Jesus is coming soon," does not mean hurry and eat as many cheeseburgers as you can. It means that we don't know what is going to happen, so choose what is healthy in this one life you've been given which doesn't mean only eating like a rabbit or counting calories either.

In a season where people freak out about how many desserts they are eating, may the discussion of food this Christmas not be about sugar consumption or exercise. May they revolve around finding time to cook (and fighting for it). May it be a time of feasting, but not gluttonous indulging - feasting of conversation, a well-rounded meal, and sitting down without television and advertisements so we can fill up on more than just food.  May the moral issues surrounding food revolve around how it got to our table and not that we were "good" so we can have another cookie.

May food drive us ALL together instead of being a tool of ignorance, force, or guilt-driven disconnection.

May we consider food this Christmas and all of the complexities that moving towards a table - full or scarce - means with our families, our communities, and our world. It's amazing, is it not, how much really boils down to food?

Comments

Food is the common language people should communicate with. This is my opinion. Food is a reflection of our culture and what way to share and communicate our culture than share it through food. - Dan Scicente

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About
A recovering perfectionist that asks questions about life, art, the Spirit and this imperfect culture we live in, I help women tap into their true self in Jesus through creative means and spiritual direction.


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