Saturday, October 20, 2007

As I Suspected...

I started a new book this morning and could hardly put it down to begin the lawn winterization that's on my 'must do' list for the weekend.

The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection is a book that I discovered on an otherwise unmemorable blog, and it finally made it to the status of "include in the Amazon order to get the free shipping."

Right before the book arrived, I lost my appetite. For food and for life. (Fortunately, both were temporary, as confirmed Friday afternoon at work when I saw old, room-temp pizza sitting in the kitchen and I squealed with delight. Yup, the old me is returning).

Said experience made me suspect that my (generally hearty) appetite for food is a reflection of my (equally hearty) appetite for the good life.

And Robert Farrar Capon -- already by page 12 someone I consider a kindred spirit -- confirms my suspicions.

I have no doubt that I'll be commending this book liberally to you in the future, but for now, let me just whet your appetite (YES, pun intended) with a taste of the preface to the 2nd & 3rd editions:

"If this book has any claim to make, therefore, it is that food is precisely an epiphany of the greatness of our nature -- or, to use the most accurate theological word of all, it is a sacrament, a real presence of the gorgeous mystery of our being. People have responded to The Supper of the Lamb, I think, because after all the modern reductionism about food ('Food is only a necessity,' 'Food is nothing but nourishment'), it gave them solid reasons for glorying in the truth that they had suspected all along; namely, that food was life, and that life was good.

"Admittedly, this is a hard insight to keep track of. Food these days is often identified as the enemy. Butter, salt, eggs are all out to get you. And yet at our best we know better. Butter is ... well, butter: it glorifies almost everything it touches. Salt is the sovereign perfecter of all flavors. Eggs are, pure and simple, one of the wonders of the world. And if you put them all together, you get not sudden death, but Hollandaise -- which in its own way is not one bit less a marvel than the Gothic arch, the computer chip, or a Bach fugue. Food, like all the other triumphs of human nature, is evidence of civilization -- of that priestly gift by which we lift the whole world into the exchanges of the Ultimate City which even God himself longs to see it
become."

(pages xxvi-xxvii)

3 comments:

Anne said...

That quote had me at butter. ;-) It's going on my wishlist.

Beth said...

I'd forgotten how much you love food...if you every visit Woodstock, Ontario, I can guarantee you a feast that you won't soon forget. My mother-in-law's cooking is amazing, with absolutely no skimping on the butter or salt. :)

Also, are you ever going to join Facebook? There's a group awaiting your presence...MACHENITES. :)

Carrie Jean Peeples said...

Oh! That books sounds great! I think I totally agree with all that but definitely only hear the bad stuff about food. It's almost like food is considered our enemy and we should stay away at all cost. I like the idea that food is an example of God's love for us and his desire for us to have joy in our lives. I normally always get really excited about eating ;)