“Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” -- Robert Fulghum
Oh, this worries me! I am so not perfect. There are so many issues I struggle with that I wish my daughter could avoid somehow.
So I’m starting a new series of letters to fill the gap. Things I want my two-year-old to know that she won’t pick up by watching me…
And in honor of Scribbit’s June Write Away contest, we’re starting on the topic of FOOD.
FOOD is not a four-letter word. It may make all my clothes shrink, but it is not in itself evil.
And that maxim, “Eat to live, don’t live to eat”? It goes only so far. There is more to life than food, but food can add a lot to life. The flavors, textures, smells…
I’m an all-or-nothing person when it comes to food. I've been that way since I was about 11. The weight is either coming on or going off. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There is a happy medium, though I haven’t found it yet.
My first memories are of food. Green guavas, ripe jackfruit, and egg curry in Bangladesh.
Food transports me in time.
- Mulberries, rainbow sherbet, and corn dogs (and sunshine): summer camp.
- Alfalfa sprouts (and imagination): Swiss Family Robinson.
- Hot chocolate and oranges (and anticipation): Christmas morning.
- Lentil soup and cinnamon rolls (and candlelight): Friday nights.
- Fried potatoes (and extra place settings): Lunch after church.
- Biscuits and gravy (and bleary-eyed dorm students): High school cafeteria on Friday mornings.
Food transports me in space.
- Dahl (and traffic pandemonium): India
- Smelly cheese (and lush green meadows): Switzerland
- Potjiekos (and cooking fires): South Africa
- Bread and chips (and balmy nights): Malawi
- Habaneras (and blistering hands): Belize
Food and family go together. Food, place, and time are the main topics of discussion when we plan a family event. Our spouses complain that we don’t get to do anything at our reunions because we’re either eating or preparing the next meal. But we're together!
Food conveys hospitality. When you have enough food on hand to feed your guest for the next decade, he is sure to feel welcome.
Food is humbling. When your host offers you lukewarm tea and biscuits as you sit on the only chair in his hut, surrounded by his large family, you’ll feel a connection unlike any other. And you'll feel blessed.
There is something magical about sipping cinnamon hot chocolate while watching the sunrise. Sitting down as a family to a colorful, hearty plate of food. Snitching a too-hot cookie from the pan. Drinking ice-cold lemonade after a jog. Stealing ripe juicy berries while picking in the patch.
Food is meant to be savored and enjoyed. It’s not simply a tool to maintain health.
Esmé, as I watch your love affair with fudgsicles and ketchup, I see you’ve got this figured out. You eat what you love. When you’ve had enough, you walk away. Or dance, or tiptoe.
I’m scared to death of messing things up with my example.
Live, laugh, and love, even when it comes to food. Enjoy the variety God has gifted you with. And I’ll try harder to join you.