A Starting Thought

food chain

My Masters thesis started out as an exploration of meals in the Bible.  As often happens with beginning researchers, the topic was vast and needed a lot of refining.  Finally I settled on “Meals in Genesis” and conducted a structural analysis of that book.  I discovered that the deep structures of the Genesis narrative were chiasms with “meals” at their center.  I wondered why meals are at such pivotal points in the narrative?

At a later time in another degree program, my interests focused on ritual.  Again I wondered why meals are the center point of so much religious ritual?

And then there is my life, where being thoughtful about food and preparing and enjoying meals with family and friends and customers has had such an important role.  Why was I intuitively drawn so strongly to meals as a center point of meaning in my own life?

This thought occurs to me about meals: as we gather raw ingredients, prepare food and eat, we embrace the central moral paradox of human existence, that it requires taking life to sustain life.  How we respond to that paradox defines us as human beings.

As we journey through our lives, we both eat and nourish, destroy and enrich.  The great gift we have as human beings is that we can make conscious decisions about the balance of eating and nourishing, taking and giving, in our own lives.  The challenge is to remain fully aware, making conscious choices on each step of our journey.

My own journey has been the work of a lifetime, and it’s a journey that continues today. I’m still learning and growing and changing.

Thinking about food from different perspectives has been a central part of my journey. It has taught me so much about life, given a practical dimension to an academic pursuit, inspired me to clarify my own values and motivated me to put those values to work in the world. I’d like to share with you some ways to think about food and how that process can shape your life.

Along the way, I’ll also share recipes and information about projects and products I like and have found meaningful.

4 thoughts on “A Starting Thought”

  1. Hi Leslie,

    Your blog is terrific. I spent a bit of time with it this morning and hope to do more later. It is indeed inspiring.

    Bobbi

  2. Loved this, too. I cooked my way through school, although not with the thoughtfulness and study that you did. I cooked an Indian meal for my final project in Indian music as an undergrad. Then, in graduate school I used food as an art media. It got wild…from pop art to large scale events. My final show was a fake wedding reception that involved a 6 foot Italian Cream Cheese wedding cake that I made myself, with festoons of glittery icing, and, swans, and angels…I was posed on another cake…made car body filler, and iced with festoons of caulking. The whole thing was “performance art” of how we are more prepared for our weddings than we are for marriage.Another time I made spaghetti for trees and still anothe outgrageous event was for the Bicentennial: “Eat for your Country.” I will spare you the details!

    Love you, Leslie!

    1. Ana, I loved this, and what an amazing idea, “Eat for Your Country.” You are so talented! I’m really glad we connected, even though I don’t think we ever did figure out exactly how that happened.

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