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.