Food stimulates every one of our senses. The sight of red and green peppers, yellow lemons, purple eggplant and white cauliflower are beautiful. Waking up to the scent of freshly brewed coffee or baked rolls on a Sunday morning is one of life’s great pleasures. The soft, fuzzy feel of a fresh peach, or the creepy peeled grape’ eyeballs at a Halloween party are unique and amazing. Listening to sizzling bacon in the morning or corn popping before a movie enhances the enjoyment of food. Finally, the taste of chocolate covered strawberries, a fresh orange or the many treats of Thanksgiving dinner are the best!
Many cultures include food in their spiritual lives as well. The bread and wine that is part of Christian services that are believed to be the body and blood’ of Christ.
For Jews, according to legend, Judith was a daughter of the Hasmoneans. She fed cheese to the leader of the Jew’s enemies which made him very thirsty and caused him to drink a lot of wine. When he grew quite drunk she cut off his head. It is said that Jews eat cheese in remembrance and celebration of this brave womans act.
To the Navajo people, of the American Southwest, Corn or naadaa’ is a gift of the Holy People and nourished their people throughout the ages. The tradition goes that when the Navajo people came from the Four Worlds they had no food and the turkey shook himself and corn fell from under his wings.
The Yoruba people, of Africa, traditionally believe that when they introduce water, salt, cola nut, honey and wine to a child at the beginning of his life he will make positive use and not negative use of them when he becomes an adult. Food is an important part of their Naming Ceremony’.
The cultivation and preparation of food is still, in most cultures, the most important aspect of life. Western civilization has pretty much made meals a fast, easy almost pesky part of life to get through’ rather than enjoy. Why else would we eat burgers and fries in our cars while driving to something we feel is more important. In other parts of the world food is a way of coming together, sharing and celebrating life.
Food also enhances our sense of fellowship. It is a major part of the celebration of birth, marriage, weddings and even funerals. One of the major parts of the healing process of people who have been sick or injured or have suffered a loss is the tradition of friends and neighbors making and delivering a casserole or cake, or inviting the suffering person to join them for dinner. Celebrations of the happiest times include a feast or special party foods. What would Thanksgiving be without the turkey dinner, a birthday party without cake and ice cream, or a wedding reception without the cake and champagne?
Of course, nutrition and the enhancement of our physical health is the most important aspect of food in our lives. Protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and micronutrients all build healthy cells that build healthy bodies. The value of value of nutrition in food has, sadly, took a back seat for many years, but people are starting to wake up and appreciate that natural, fresh foods are a must if we want to avoid the many ailments and diseases that attack our bodies as we age. And after all, if we are alive, we are aging!
It’s hard to imagine the huge void that would open if humans did not depend upon food, it’s cultivation, sale, preparation, presentation and enjoyment. It seems to have started with Eve and the apple and who knows where it will end!