Men and Women and Food and Fire, in and out of the kitchen:
Jesus Christ said that he himself is the food, the meal. In it we have forgiveness of sins and community. Someone did the cooking and he did serving and foot-washing.
In our days, who precisely does the cooking--has become something of a women's equality issue. The women who have a raised consciousness have got themselves decidedly out of the kitchen. We are so busy, we get our food at the drive-through window at McDonald's and we wonder how everyone has got so obese.
On the other hand, when we do have time, we love to have an outdoor BarBQ, with the men usually "manning" and supervising the cooking of the meat. This has always been mainly men's work.
And this sort of event is the very height of summer, vacation, being happy with friends and family.
When the men cook the meat and the women make the salads and deserts, entertaining is much easier.
No doubt, kitchen work has been a grind in the past. But I also remember having good chats at the sink doing dishes by hand. One washed, another dried and a lot of ground got covered while working side by side. This has been lost, too. We have dishwashers and we have got no time to do dishes, either, any more.
It can be demeaning, though. I remember visiting a friend, as a girl, and the father was sitting in the living room watching TV, while the mother worked and brought him beer, as he called for it. This may not have been as bad as the optics were for me that day, as I gladly bring a cold beer to a tired man, who deserves it at the end of his day, etc. But certainly, we know of some tyrants who behave very badly, are demanding, rude and insensitive, all the while never returning a favor or serving anyone else.
On the opposite spectrum is the man who does not want anything done for him. He won't ask a favor and won't thank you for one. He is an island to himself. The whole communal thing is not truly for him. This can be very disappointing for a nurturing soul who has allied herself with him.
Maybe this is why, in the olden days, we spent so much time inculcating good table manners, shared duties, helpfulness and consideration, all around meal preparation, serving and consumption. Flexibility is good, and I myself have gotten a bit too lazy to clean my own lettuce now that you can buy it ready to eat. Pre-cleaned lettuce, at this point, seems to me the ultimate in indulgence. One used to make lettuce for a whole family at one time. Then it was worth the trouble. Now I can make a salad just for myself in a minute. Scary in a way. Comfortable in another.
Sometimes all this even makes you feel guilty for spending time on meal preparation. Suzy home-maker his wasting her day baking cookies and making coleslaw. On the other hand, if you are making some gluten-free, superfood and do it with mind-fullness, you now could also call it "meditation". This would be the epitome of all goodness and worthwhileness, especially if you are doing for yourself.
Which brings us back to Jesus Christ being the food. There is a spirituality in eating and meal-preparation. Even the smoke of burnt-offerings were pleasing to God. Abel's sacrifice of blood and meat were accepted by God.
What do we get out of this?--Maybe, spend the time you need to prepare meals of whatever complexity you desire. Do it with gratitude, joy and meditation. Remember that the Lord himself is taking care of you, and that he ate, too, not counting himself too high and mighty to lend a hand or provide the food. On the other hand, also, he told Martha to get out of the kitchen and make the word a priority. Something for the spirit, something for the body, something for the community, something for God.
Enjoy it, as Solomon said. And he knew what he was saying.
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