Food For Thought
I usually don’t read cookbooks. I’m not anti-culinary - but I prefer the product rather than the process. So, I have only one cookbook on my shelf. Still, I’ve found it to be worth all the others I could buy. Robert F. Capon was an Episcopal priest, a theologian, a Biblical author, a New York Times food critic and a chef. Those are not ingredients easily blended but Capon whipped them together for a prolific and flavourful career. I own several of his books; but his text, “The Supper of the Lamb” is best. In the book, Capon offers the means of stretching a leg of lamb into 32 unique meals. By the time you get to his chapter on how to chop an onion, it dawns on the reader that Capon is writing about matters greater than stew and sauces. He writes of life, love, community, faith, pleasure, grace and above all - of God. Here is one of his quotes to nibble on.
“To be sure, food keeps us alive, but that is only its smallest and most temporary work. Its eternal purpose is to furnish our sensibilities against the day when we shall sit down at the heavenly banquet and see how gracious the Lord is. Nourishment is necessary only for a while; what we shall need forever is taste.... Food is the daily sacrament of unnecessary goodness, ordained for a continual remembrance that the world will always be more delicious than it is useful.”
I grant that Capon may not be everyone’s taste, but I find that he feeds my own soul. When I reduce life down to a measurement of plus or minus like counting calories, or look for the utilitarian purpose of my days, I welcome his reminder. Sweet or savoury, life is more than just sustenance, because it extends into eternity. Nourishment is for now. Taste is for ever. This world is not meant simply to be used, but to be celebrated. I catch a whiff of Paul’s exhortation, that everything made by God is to be enjoyed with gratitude. Capon seasons his paragraphs with God’s own delight, in the goodness of creation.
I know that life is sometimes hard to swallow. We often have days or situations that seem bitter. Loneliness may make our homes seem bland. Still, there is nothing in front of us that is not good for us. There is nothing that God serves which is not of grace. So, I ask God to revive my appetite when it has been dulled. I ask Him to rearrange my tastes when a worldly diet has numbed them. Most of all, I pray for clarity to enjoy each day as if it were a banquet. If your own soul is feeling malnourished, Capon’s recipe may help - but better…
“O taste and see that the Lord is good…” Psalm 34:1
“He satisfies the longing soul and the hungry soul He fills with good things.” Psalm 107:9