The best way to get me to attend a lecture is to talk about food.
For those who don’t know me well, I really, really like food. It was pure interest–not a class requirement–that drew me to Simran Sethi’s lecture on food, faith and the environment on Tuesday night.
Sethi, a journalist, spoke about the intersections of food and faith and challenged the audience to consider where our food comes from and how it affects our bodies and souls.
Eating is in and of itself an agricultural act, Sethi said. We are what we eat, and what we eat is (mostly) junk.
As I listened to Sethi speak about the importance of eating well and honoring God through food, I was reminded of a Shamrock Shake I bought at McDonald’s last week. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I love those shakes. I dream all year long of their minty green deliciousness.
But when I think about all the high fructose corn syrup and green food dye that goes into a single Shamrock Shake, I start to feel nauseous. And that doesn’t even include the stomachache I inevitably get an hour after drinking one of those bad boys.
My point? Shamrock Shakes may taste good, but they’re not exactly the best way to honor our bodies or God. As Sethi said, we stuff our bodies with junk, but our souls cry out for nourishment.
To Sethi, food–real food–is a source of divinity and unity. When we eat, we become connected to God, nature and one another. I never feel this connection more than when I share a meal with my housemates.
Every weeknight, Monday through Friday, my housemates and I eat a home-cooked meal together. We enjoy our house meals so much that we’ve been doing them for almost two years now. It’s a great system: we share a budget, plan meals in advance and take turns cooking (my night is Thursday!). We also try to be intentional about using as many healthy, fresh ingredients as possible.
For me, these meals are nourishing far beyond their caloric value. To sit down and share a home-cooked meal with good friends is not only fun and delicious, but also a powerful expression of love and community.
Whether or not you share my near-obession with food, I invite you to make intentional space this week for a good meal with friends and family. Something tells me you won’t be disappointed.
-Ariel Ropp, editor-in-chief