Why food and cooking are sacred things

A browse through a local Farmer’s Market yesterday gave me a fresh appreciation for living in the United States — we who rarely miss a meal and if we do, it isn’t from lack of food. (Let me just say that if your hometown doesn’t have a Farmer’s Market, you might want to consider relocating.)

All photos: Marlys

This thought-provoking comment from Robert Farrar Capon gave me pause because I don’t know that I’ve ever thought about the sacredness of food and of preparing meals for the people I love:

Food is not just some fuel we need to get us going toward higher things. Cooking is not a drudgery we put up with in order to get the fuel delivered. Rather, each is a heart’s astonishment. Both stop us dead in our tracks with wonder.

Two things I’ve unwittingly taken for granted: Food and cooking. Perhaps because food has always been plentiful; perhaps because preparing a meal was one more thing to check off my to-do list on a busy day.

I think there’s a third layer to the amazingness of food and preparing it. And that would be the gathering of people around our tables as we open our hearts to one other; as we listen well and share stories and laughter; as we feed our families and friends and yes, even strangers, and provide a safe place for them.

I want all three—food, cooking, and hospitality—to stop me dead in my tracks with wonder; I want them to astonish my heart.

Shauna Niequist wrote a book, Bread & Wine, as a love letter to life around the table. In the introduction, she says she doesn’t want to change the way we eat, necessarily, but she wants us to enjoy what we eat—pizza or filet mignon—and share food with the people we love:

… because I think the gathering is of great significance. When you eat, I want you to think of God, of the holiness of hands that feed us, of the provision we are given every time we eat.

These are the things I don’t want to take for granted: This good provision, this ability to slice and dice and create something beautiful and delicious and healthful, this gathering of friends and family.

Which begs the question: What do you need to pick up from a Farmer’s Market near you and serve to your people?

Side note: The Farmer’s Market in my hometown isn’t just about the food — although there’s plenty of it, including food tastings and food carts.

It’s also about gorgeous hand-crafted Adirondack furniture, and lavendar-enhanced products, and jewelry  …

A slider rocker for two

… and live music, and fragrant oils and soaps, and thick slabs of wood crafted into food trays …

… and fruit-infused gins, and cedar birdhouses with roof-top planters …

… and tie-dyed baby clothing, and flower pots of golden color …

… and hand-crafted bags, and aerial demonstrations, and homemade nutritional dog food. Of course. Because Bend, Oregon, is a dog town.

P.S. If you know someone who needs to fall in love with cooking again, please share, tweet or pin!


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  1. Grace Lawson

    We have a Farmers Market here in Noblesville, Indiana, every Saturday from mid April to mid October. The time is 8AM to noon. It is located in a very nice park. There are all sorts of home grown food. Dogs are welcome also. Just yesterday we were able to get fresh sweet corn on the cob !! Yum !! Mostly farmers come with their food to sell but some churches do bake sales to raise funds, Also a small but nice band plays for entertainment. The band just accepts tips. It is a very nice Farmers Market !!!

    • Your hometown Farmer’s Market sounds perfect, Grace! I love not only the offerings of fresh produce, but also the community it creates.

  2. Peter Howe B.E.M.

    Our local country village has a market each week and a major Farmers Market once a month, so ‘The Breeze’ (the group of musicians) of which I’m a member play most weeks and especially the ‘once a month’ session. The smoked salmon, cheeses, pickled/preserves, the smells, the happiness, smiles, laughter as folks meet, having travelled to be there & we are just an ‘add on’. It’s always such a pleasure to wander the market & make an order of delicious meaty Scotch eggs or anything else that gets the taste buds active. Love, joy and happiness are in the air on ‘days like these’. God Bless & thanks again. Barbara & Peter.

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