The Joy of Good Food

Like most people in North America, I don’t always make great choices about the food I eat.  Convenience foods make it too easy to eat things that are filling and strongly-flavoured but not necessarily nourishing.  When my husband and I are stressed or feeling lazy, we quickly fall back on frozen pizzas, oven fries and chicken strips, and other “easy foods,” as we call them.  Now, don’t get me wrong: I like those foods!  I also do consider them food.  I base this on the definition provided by one of my all-time favourite bloggers, The Fat Nutritionist.  She writes:

ALL FOOD CONTAINS NUTRIENTS. NUTRIENTS ARE GOOD FOR YOU. NO, REALLY. I’M SERIOUS.

I mean, how can  you not love her for that?  Now, stop giving me that face.  She also promotes intuitive eating, which at its core encourages people to listen to the cues their bodies are giving them about hunger, fullness, and what foods make them feel good and what foods make them feel bad.  Eat more of the foods that make you feel good.  Eat less of the foods that make you feel bad.

So, eating “easy foods” for a week usually burns us out.  We start feeling less-than-good as our bodies get too much salt, fat, and preservatives.  Usually that prompts a swing the other way, to eating foods that make us feel good.

This past week was a “good food” week.  We prepared and ate foods that made us feel good.  We made a kick-butt (and butt-kicking) crockpot full of spicy chili for supper last night, for example.  If it hadn’t been too hot for baking, we would have whipped up some homemade cheese biscuits to go with it.  Because…yum!

Honestly, eating good food prompts worship in me.  It reminds me of something said by one of my favourite preachers, Jonathan Martin.  He said that if you follow beauty, it leads you to Jesus.  Well, that’s my paraphrase of it, anyway.  One day about a week ago we were eating a great steak that we had marinated all day and it occurred to me that beautiful tastes are no different than beautiful sounds, beautiful pieces of art, or beautiful words.  The delicious steak, the juicy strawberry, the fresh-baked bread, the Thanksgiving turkey, the butter chicken, the mouth-watering kalbi ribs, the mashed potatoes, the mess of greens, the primavera sauce (are you hungry, yet?), the steaming soup, the bowl of pho, the toothsome spanakopita, the poutine with fresh cheese curds, or the delicately arranged sushi: good foods with great tastes are found all over the world.  They are beautiful.

That beauty leads me to Jesus.  It leads me to the one who created a world full of diversity—not only of edible animals and plants, but of cultures who find different delicious ways to prepare them.  It makes me praise the one who gave me a tongue to taste and a nose to smell these delicious foods, and who wired me to enjoy them.  No matter what “they” might say, food is so much more than just fuel.  If it was, cultures all over the world would not have spent so much creativity on making foods that are beautiful to see, smell, and taste.

I encourage you to plan to make a food you love sometime soon.  Think about the foods that make you want to stop and savour every bite.  Pick one out and go shopping.  Spend time with the people you love preparing that food and sit down at the table with them to eat it together with no interruptions from TV, cell phones, or computers.  If you are a believer, think about the way this food reflects the goodness of its Creator.  Think about all the people who worked hard to bring that food to your table.  Be thankful.  Be joyful.  You were made for this.

Now, you will have to excuse me, because I have to go make lunch. 🙂

If you feel like it, share YOUR favourite food in the comments section!