“Breaking bread” means eating. “Our daily bread” means food. It is also called the staff of life, which I like: bread there, all life leaning against it. Our lives don’t lean against it anymore: we’ve decided that bread is bad for us. Our staff has broken, and that is part of why our diets seem so hard to get in balance.
Ken Albala and Trudy Eden
The act of ingestion and digestion involves the incorporation of food into our own ﬂesh. What we eat literally becomes us, and we become it. Logically, therefore, food is among the most powerful expressions of identity, both for the individual and the group.
Augustine of Hippo
Here below, He who has promised us heavenly food has nourished us on milk, having recourse to a mother’s tenderness. For just as a mother, suckling her infant, transfers from her flesh the very same food which otherwise would be unsuited to the babe . . . so our Lord, in order to convert His wisdom into milk for our benefit, came to us clothed in flesh.
To live, we must daily break the body and shed the blood of Creation. When we do this knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently, it is a sacrament. When we do it ignorantly, greedily, clumsily, destructively, it is a desecration. In such desecration we condemn ourselves to spiritual and moral loneliness, and others to want.
I’m pretty sure that cheese and sausage are good. Other than that, it’s a world of confusion and uncertainty.
The boundary between living and nonliving is actually removed in food. Food is natural communion – partaking of the flesh of the world. When I take food, I am eating world matter in general, and in so doing, I truly and in reality find the world within me and myself in the world, I become part of it.”
Jen Pollock Michel
For as long as there is a compassionate Father, there will be a home, a table, and a feast. This was Israel’s great consolation: exile was the middle act of the drama, but it was not the final scene.
Ellen F. Davis
Food production entails at every stage judgments and practices that bear directly on the health of the earth and living creatures, on the emotional, economic, and physical well-being of families and communities, and ultimately on their survival. Therefore, sound agricultural practice depends upon knowledge that is at one and the same time chemical and biological, economic, cultural, philosophical, and (following the understanding of most farmers in most places and times) religious. Agriculture involves questions of value and therefore of moral choice, whether or not we care to admit it.
Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan)
“That’s why New York is so great, though. Everyone you care about can despise you and you can still find a bagel so good, nothing else matters. Who needs love when you’ve got lox? They both stink, but only one tastes good.”
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Ellen F. Davis
To eat is to be implicated in a vast, complex, interweaving set of life and death dramas in which we are only one character among many…The moment we chew on anything we participate in regional, geographic histories and in biochemical processes that, for all their diversity and complexity, defy our wildest imaginations and most thorough attempts at comprehension. Th e minute we contemplate or talk about eating, we show ourselves to be involved in culinary traditions and cultural taboos, as well as moral quandaries and spiritual quests. To amend an ecologist’s maxim: we can never only bite into one thing.
Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) & Liz Lemon (Tina Fey)
Jack Donaghy: “We are lovers.”
Liz Lemon: That word bums me out unless it’s between the words “meat” and “pizza.”
Father Zossima [Fyodor Dostoevsky]
“God took seeds from other worlds and sowed them on this earth, and made his garden grow, and everything that could come up came up, but what grows lives and is alive only through the feeling of its contact with other mysterious worlds; if that feeling grows weak or is destroyed in you, then what has grown up in you will also die. Then you will become indifferent to life and even grow to hate it. That’s what I think.”
To learn what has gone on in the kitchen and the dining room—and what still goes on there—is to discover much about a society’s physical health, its economic condition, its race relations, its class structure, and the status of its women.
Gary W. Fick
It is a sad but true saying that our biggest problems are ignorance and apathy. It is certainly true of agriculture. With the bulk of the American population two or more generations removed from farming, few of us know very much about the sources of our food.
God’s garden, made “in the beginning,” does not lie behind us, but ahead of us, in hope, and, in the meantime, all around us as our place of work.
So much about life in a global economy feels as though it has passed beyond the individual’s control–what happens to our jobs, to the prices at the gas station, to the vote in the legislature. But somehow food still feels a little different. We can still decide, every day, what we’re going to put into our bodies, what sort of food chain we want to participate in. We can, in other words, reject the industrial omelet on offer and decide to eat another.”
As a child on my aunt and uncle’s farm, I fed a chicken nugget to a chicken. I still feel guilty about that.
Raw materials such as No. 2 yellow corn or BSCB (boneless, skinless chicken breasts) are now handled like any other commodity : produced wherever costs are lowest, shipped to wherever demand is highest, and managed via the same contracts, futures, and other instruments used for timber, or tin, or iron ore. Food-processing companies employ the same technologies and business models of other high-volume manufacturers. The continuous advances in technology and the ever larger scales of production that drive down costs in cars and home electronics are now also standard in the food business, as is the relentless product innovation one finds in clothing and cosmetics.… To an important degree, the success of the modern food sector has been its ability to make food behave like any other consumer product.
To crave and to have are as like as a thing and its shadow. For when does a berry break upon the tongue as sweetly as when one longs to taste it, and when is the taste refracted into so many hues and savors of ripeness and earth, and when do our senses know anything so utterly as when we lack it?
To eat is still something more than to maintain bodily functions. People may not understand what that “something more” is, but they nonetheless desire to celebrate it. They are still hungry and thirsty for sacramental life.
Dry is all food of the soul if it is not sprinkled with the oil of Christ.
Why did God create a world in which every living creature must eat?
To grow food and eat in a way that is mindful of God is to collaborate with
God’s own primordial sharing of life in the sharing of food with each other.
It is to participate in forms of life and frameworks of meaning that have their
root and orientation in God’s caring ways with creation.
One of the lasting contributions of Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation is to have shown how a considerable amount of contemporary eating is without mercy or art…To “grab a bite on the go” communicates that people do not believe their eating should occasion the sustained attention or reflection that might lead to greater care of our food networks and more regular celebration of the gifts of life.
When eating becomes a spiritual exercise, it isn’t simply that people will have occasions to become more attentive to each other and the world. They will also have the opportunity to see, receive, and taste the world with spiritual depth.
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