My wife and I are foodies. According to Wikipedia.org a foodie is a person who has an ardent or refined interest in food, and who eats food not only out of hunger but also as a hobby.
On our dates, we will try new items listed on a menu at restaurants to discover different tastes like when we ate at Hank’s Seafood in Charleston, S.C. during our 2022 summer vacation. Esquire magazine named it one of America’s Best New Restaurants. Readers of the Charleston City Paper voted it the Best Seafood Restaurant for eighteen consecutive years.
While eating, my wife then begins inquiring about the ingredients and how it’s made. She genuinely loves to cook, it also relieves stress, she says. I’m the beneficiary of her efforts in the kitchen. But when our stove died, my palate suffered for three months.
We waited and waited. Finally, it arrived, an oven we picked out at one of those big appliance stores. I walked out to the street to examine it. The delivery man opened the door to the oven and I looked inside.
“Ummm…something isn’t right,” I said.
“Why is the heating element bent?”
A stare came my way, the kind without words. I said we can’t accept it, and the defective oven was placed back on the truck.
We waited and waited some more. This time I didn’t need to inspect the second oven. The new delivery guy spoke first.
“Mr. Haynes, you gotta see this.”
He pulled the cardboard and tape off the back side. There were three dents which looked like an unhappy worker had a bad day and took out his or her aggression.
“Thanks for your honesty,” I said.
I drove to the appliance store with my receipt and my account of what happened. Because of the trouble, the manager agreed to give us an upgrade, a double oven range that included a convection oven. Gina was elated!
“Just think what you can cook now!” I said.
We waited and waited and waited some more. This time the third oven appeared with three delivery men. I walked out to the street with baited breath. They pulled all the protective coverings off and I smiled a big one as I encircled it, not finding any issues, scrutinizing it, like it was my job.
The men carried it into our house, grunting as they conquered nine stairs. I left them alone since four men in our medium-sized kitchen was too much. As soon as I sat in our downstairs den, one of the men yelled.
“Mr. Haynes, can you come up here?” I ran up the stairs, with my “Oh-No!” face.
“The correct electrical cord was not put in the box with the oven,” one of the men said. I didn’t lose my cool, but wanted to, yet instructed them to leave the new oven and take the old one. I drove to the appliance store again and met with the manager of customer service.
Three hours later, after our meeting, he pulled in our driveway with a mechanic. In one hour our stove was correctly hooked up, ready to be the agent for Gina’s new baking adventures.
Some of us go to great lengths to prepare food. Our daily bread is important to our survival. And it’s also important to God. From Taste and See, Margaret Feinberg writes,
“God handcrafted humanity to be dependent on food. The Creator could have required us to survive on air or water apart from eating, but He designed the human body so food is not an option but a necessity. Even more delicious, God creates food as a source of pleasure. One of the marvels of our bodies is that we come equipped with between 2,000 and 10,000 taste buds, each one harboring 50 to 100 receptors that distinguish between the five main flavors: salty, bitter, sweet, sour, and umami (savory—think ripe tomatoes or shitake mushrooms). The tongue could exist without these nubbins, but God imbues us with the ability to delight in eating.” (page 16-17)
And I like to think that God also delights in how much my wife loves to prepare and provide delicious food for our family. God is always providing for us and we forget how much he does.
Feinberg continues, “When God sends manna or Jesus says, “I’m the bread of life,” he’s saying, I want to be the center of your table, the center of your relationships, the center of your community. This is true whether you use whole grains or gluten-free flour. Our flat breads and fluffy rolls and artisanal loaves invite us to taste and see the mystery and sacredness of God. They invite us to refuel, to remember, and most important, to feast on spiritual bread together. To talk and really listen. To share each other’s burdens. To give the gift of our presence. And that presence is the best thing since…well, you know! (page 92)
The reality is we fill our lives with what we hunger for. And food, however delicious, is just the beginning. God wants to fill you with Himself, so the whiff of Him overflows into the lives of neighbors, friends, and strangers.
There is nothing like coming home and savoring the wonderful smell coming from our kitchen, wondering what my wife is preparing. Our lives should also give off a scent of something different. From his book 2 Corinthians, Paul wrote, “For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” (2:15, NIV)
Everyone is hungry. Why not offer what is spiritually filling from the Bread of Life?
Pictures courtesy of “Nelson & his Nikon” except for lady smelling food, courtesy of pexels.com