Food for thought

Posted: Sunday, September 19, 2010

There have been a number of books, news stories and magazine articles encouraging us to think about the food we eat. So, I've been reading and thinking. Here's a random sampling:

Kerri Leonard and Christopher Greenslate wrote a book called "On a Dollar a Day," which chronicles their experience of eating on a dollar a day (lots of rice and beans ... tons of rice and beans). What surprised me about their story was not that it was a challenge, or that their biggest fight was over a cookie, but by how thinking about food consumed them. They spent an enormous time every day thinking about what they had eaten, what they were going to eat, what they missed eating and what they would eat again when the experiment was completed. The less food they had, the more it was all they could think about.

My grandma was one of eleven children, born and raised in the hills of Kentucky. Ten of the children found ways to move off the mountain, through military service and marriage, but Aunt Elsie stayed "up mountain." This past year, the extended family decided to compile a family cookbook with recipes collected from each sibling. Aunt Della's section is filled with cookies, cakes and desserts; Aunt Charity's with exotic salads; Uncle Jack's with hearty pork, beef and fish dishes; and Aunt Elsie has "Rattlesnake Recipe" and "Fried Possum, Rabbit and Squirrel." Not that there would ever be a stew of all three, just that all three could be cooked following the same recipe. At the bottom of this handwritten recipe, Elsie's daughter added the note, "Our father would go hunting in the woods and fields to get the meat to cook, sometimes meat was hard to find."

From an essay called "Doing Justice" by Joyce Hollyday: "During orientation week on a college campus in Washington State, a lavish welcome banquet was spread. A new student piled his plate with food - more than he could eat. He turned to the young man sitting next to him - a student from the African nation of Namibia - and commented, 'I guess my eyes were bigger than my stomach.' The Namibian looked at the other student's eyes - and then at his stomach - and was clearly confused. So the American said, 'Don't you have a word that means taking more than you can eat?' The Namibian thought a moment and said, 'Yes. We call it stealing.'"

Please remember to support your local food banks, as our lovely "second summer" turns to autumn.

• Rev. Sue Bahleda is pastor of Resurrection Lutheran Church. RLC's food pantry is open weekdays from 1 to 3 p.m. Donations are gladly accepted.

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