09 September 2008

A Simple Feast



I found a simple and unexpected joy this morning. A feast of delightful colors, different textures, pungent aromas hitherto unnoticed. As I pealed, sliced, chopped, pressed...handling and enjoying the delights of the garden that God has created and generously given.

I was cooking. With real food.

Now, you must realize that cooking has always been my domestic bane. I have always rather cleaned toilettes than cook! But I have made much effort and given repeated prayer asking the Lord to give me delight in this task that He has asked of me, that it be a beautiful provision for and service to my family, and that I offer this calling to Him in gratitude for His abundant provision. How I longed to stop wasting money and precious time on the drive-through, not to mention filling empty tummies with empty "food." (Isn't it so much better to give that money to those in this world who have empty tummies with no hope of them being filled?) This has not been easy for me for I never really learned to plan meals and cook growing up. Just ask my friend, who, when I was in my 30s, I called with consternation in my voice that the hot dog manufacturer dared to omit cooking directions on the package! (Which was met appropriately with peals of laughter on the other end of the telephone line.)

However, the Lord is so gracious. He has slowly been answering my prayer, as silly as it may seem to many for whom cooking is automatic. I have been enjoying cooking frugal and nutritious food for my family lately. I have had to persevere again and again. The surprise for me came this morning when I realized how fun and wholesome it was to simply...chop vegetables.

You know, those real foods that grow out of the ground. That look like what they really are in the grocery store. That remind us what real green and real red look like. Not processed, salted, corn syruped, fat laden, MSG stoked, artificial neon colored, weird "food" in a box with hyper active labeling.

I was surprised how much enjoyment there was in handling the eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, onion, garlic, etc. Each had a different texture. I never knew eggplant had seeds inside. (Duh!) Each had a different aroma and brought colorfulness to the dish as it piled into my crock pot. There was something...real...about it. Not the feeling of plastic. Not the boring uniformity of a machine made item with endless copies of itself all exactly the same. Rather each was unique, yet consistently like its relatives. Creativity within order. Bountiful beauty.

And now I have ratatouille bubbling in my crock pot. Throughout the day it will waft its aroma throughout my home, reminding me of the simple joy of persevering until prayers are answered, of finding simple joy in the ordinary around us, and of the peace of mind that dinner is already mostly done!

Jehovah Jireh, my Provider, of a feast for the body...and the soul.

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