“When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.” ~ Tecumseh
“Cooking is all about people. Food is maybe the only universal thing that really has the power to bring everyone together. No matter what culture, everywhere around the world, people get together to eat.” ~ Guy Fieri
A week, from the day I write this, it will be Thanksgiving in the U.S. I’ve been thinking for quite some time about which foods makes me feel good, which foods don’t, and how it connects us with our friends and family. Food is much more than just fuel to keep our bodies going. There is something spiritual about it too. That’s why we use it in our rituals, ceremonies and celebrations.
I’m an adequate cook not an exceptional one because I’ve almost always thought of meal preparation as a chore. Since I’m going through a kind of personal revolution, I’d like to change my thinking about cooking. I want to enjoy cooking. I admire people who put so much love into the dishes they create that just eating it is a spiritual experience. When I cook the food keeps hunger away but that’s not necessarily the best reason to eat.
Barry and I have been watching Native America on PBS. In the first episode they concentrated on one main site, Chaco Pueblo in Northern New Mexico that is estimated to be 13,000 years old. It’s one of the oldest historic sites in the world. At the site they found cylindrical drinking vessels that had remnants of chocolate in them. It is believed that the chocolate, which comes from cacao beans native to South America, was used as a ceremonial drink. I knew there was a reason I love chocolate. This, and other artifacts, was evidence that the people of Chaco traded with native groups in various South American regions. Which proves these ancient civilizations had much more vibrant societies than previously thought. The cultivation of food, not just hunting and gathering, was, of course, extremely important for these ancient people as well. We enjoy the fruits of their development of various crops and farming methods even today.
As I was falling asleep after watching this program, I was thinking of movies like Chocolat, Babette’s Feast, and Like Water for Chocolate, all having to do with the transforming and sometimes even healing power of lovingly prepared food. There are other stories along this same vein of course. In them people are brought together by food, which promotes enjoyment, openness and sometimes even helping to heal relationships. This time of year, particularly, food warms and sustains us through the long dark months.
After all this thinking about the significance of food, I’m ready to break out of my food rut and try some new recipes, and maybe even take a cooking class or two, and do more cooking with Barry. Meal time should be a time to stop work and just enjoy not only the food but the people we eat it with because fellowship is nourishing too.
I plan to take time this holiday season to appreciate my family, friends and the food we prepare and eat together. I hope you do too.
Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate it. Happy eating this weekend.
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.