Saturday, March 22, 2008

Almost Alleluia

In an hour or so I will be on my way to Willits for the vigil and first Eucharist of Easter. This will be the first Easter in the new building, and I look forward to seeing how to work it. It's very live. Of course, I also look forward to being among friends.

One of the things I did for Lent was to give up buying anything but comestibles and drugs for me and for my cats. I discovered that I needed to include cat litter and toilet paper in the things I would buy. The difficulty was not in foregoing other things - it was in those impulses to fill time or reduce stress by spending a little money on something not necessary. I've also been sorting last year's receipts - and been surprised at how many of them are for food, and how little else I really do buy except office, garden, cat and knitting supplies.

My lenten reading has been food fiction (like All Over Creation by Ruth L. Ozeki) and food memoirs, like Judith Jones and Madhur Jaffrey. It was amazing to me how many of the classic cookbooks on my shelves were Knopf - that is Jones - productions. And seeing the history of Indian independence and partition through food gives a most interesting lens.

Jones actually comments in her memoir that many of the best cookbook writers were amateur cooks who had to teach themselves, and who were trying to perpetuate a food tradition - often one from their childhood - in a strange land.

She also talks about cooking as essentially religious, springing off this quotation from A.N. Whitehead: ‘Cooking is one of those arts which most requires to be done by persons of a religious nature.’

(All that AND process philosophy!)

As I've tried today, as every holiday, to juggle cooking preparation with liturgical preparation, I have been edified by this quotation from Jones:
"Other creatures receive food simply as fodder. But we take the raw materials of the earth and work with them - touch them, manipulate them, taste them, ...and then, through a bit of alchemy, transform them into delicious creations. Cooking demands attention, patience, and, above all, respect. It is a way of worship, a way of giving thanks."

No comments: