Andrew Zimmern in Morocco

My grandmother was from Eastern Italy.  She loved to cook, and cooked as often as she could; she never used measuring cups and always said she “measured from her heart.”  While she was living with our family, she told me to make sure I married a woman who could keep me fed–if I was always full, she told me, I would always be happy.  I followed this advice, and I love my wife’s cooking, but this led me to consider something else.

I really enjoy the Travel Channel show Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.  His philosophy is, regardless of how different we are, when we share a meal we connect on a level of shared humanity and leave politics and other non-essentials aside.  Prior to many of his sermons, Jesus made sure the folks who came to listen were well fed.  Every Sunday our local Sikh congregation have an open invitation to anyone who wants to come and eat with them, and if you would like, you may stay for a spiritual meal as well.  Pacifica Institute and other Turkish-American groups have regular cooking classes, which make for a super fun way to learn about other cultures.  There are some very cool cook books which show how, in the interests of enjoying our meals, we can really get along and enjoy each other’s company (The Ottoman Turk and the Pretty Jewish Girl, Jerusalem:  A Cookbook).

And it’s interesting that three of the world’s most significant Holy days are closely linked to meals:  Passover, Easter (the Last Supper), and Ramadan (Iftar).

Tabgha Church Mosaic IsraelImage from Wikimedia Commons

Tabgha Church Mosaic Israel
Image from Wikimedia Commons