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Simple Food - Simple Meal

The idea of simple food functions on several levels.  It can mean food that is relatively simply prepped, and with little fuss in the cooking - steamed vegetables with olive oil and lemon for example.  It can also mean food that brings itself together as a meal in a simple way, appearing plain - soup and bread for example.  It can also mean mean a meal that is not complex - such as steamed rice and veggies.

Any of these meanings, and all of the other ones that you imagine when you hear "simple food" give us pause from our usual meals.  They may give us a chance to sit at a plain and simple table, with those we love and live with, and share simple talk, simple communion.  Sounds a bit like a child's serving of tea in plastic service-ware to big people who can't really see tea in their cups.

There are times of the year that the major religions set aside to celebrate with food.  There are times they set aside to celebrate without food.  I am thinking, as Lent approaches -  is upon us - to share the idea of simple meal.  Simple meals of celebration are bonding for religions.  I believe it is important for families to do the same.  Simple meals can be times of bonding at home.

Have an occasional meal that is simple fare.  (Preparing it may often be far from simple - especially if you are making both soup and bread from scratch.)  We have been having a simple meal of soup and bread one day a week for the past few months.  It took the boys by surprise one night because that is all I served.  They ate a lot of it.  But the table was simple that night.  The conversation seemed different (after we got past the idea of only having soup + bread, that is).  It felt sort of like a sacramental meal, rather than just supper.

Call it what you will, but give it a name.  And, have it regularly - every three months, monthly, or weekly.  Have a candle, dim the lights, use cloth napkins.  Hold hands and offer a blessing.  This little "starter" meal can really become the quintessential essence of what meals with loved can be.  It almost become an icon of what meals are.  There are times when we will not sit like this - by design or by default.  But, let "simple meal" be the image of community around the table.  Hearts bonded to hearts.  Bodies nourished as souls are fed.



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