Good Eats

Happy Easter one and All!

Admittedly, it is cold soggy afternoon, not feeling much like a festive day within the octave of Easter. Still, there are chocolates on my desk and lilies adorning the church, so a bit of rain cannot dampen my festive spirit. I do have to confess that I have always loved the Easter season. Perhaps even more than Christmas. Maybe it has something to do with still being something of a southerner deep in my heart that I take far too much delight in seeing at least the hopeful signs of spring after a long depressing winter.

Easter is a feast, and feast means good food. A fact that I am all the more inclined to celebrate after an unfortunate gastric illness nearly put me in the tomb on Good Friday — not a penitential practice I would wish to make an annual occurrence. Alas, but my leg of lamb intended for an Easter feast has been consigned to the back of the freezer. Perhaps for Pentecost. I really do like food, it has to be said. And it is not just the part of my spirit that looks forward to warm weather I claim from my southern heritage. I also stick to my southern roots when it comes to my culinary preferences. For me, the 11th commandment is “Thou shalt not put sugar in thy cornbread.”

We even got to meet Alton Brown, even if Amanda was a little suspicious.

We even got to meet Alton Brown, even if Amanda was a little suspicious.

This is one of the reasons I was so excited when Leeman and I had the chance to catch Alton Brown live just before Holy Week kicked into gear. I’ve always loved Alton Brown, and not just because he is from the city of my birth (Atlanta, Georgia). I appreciate someone who prioritizes the brilliance of a cast-iron skillet and the goodness of butter, as any respectable southerner should. I hold to many of the lessons on cooking I learned from my years of following his guidance. The man taught helped me face my fear of roasting a turkey for the first time–and he’s gotten me through every Thanksgiving for the last decade. Even in active labour, I was explaining to my midwife Mr. Brown’s rules for never stuffing or basting a turkey.

But what I love most about Alton Brown is the JOY he takes in cooking, and the fun he has with food. When so many “foodies” these days seem oppressed by their own sense of self-importance–or, worse yet, seem almost afraid of food that may not be properly organic/whole/free range/etc–Alton Brown’s levity is a breath of fresh air. It is a rare person who can host a TV cooking show that prominently feature sock puppets and sophisticated culinary technique. It’s no surprise that Alton Brown’s live show would be a mixture of stand-up comedy and over-the-top food gadgetry. The man made a gigantic easy-bake-oven powered by stadium lights and used fire extinguishers to make carbonated ice cream, for goodness’ sake. Good times were had by all.

In this Eastertide season of Feasting, someone like Alton Brown inspires us to take JOY in what are indeed “Good Eats”–the abundance of creation that God has given to nourish and sustain us. It’s worth noting that Alton Brown is a person of faith. I have to believe that the delight he takes in the quirks and creativity of cooking come from a spiritual place. If nothing else, he evokes a sense of thankfulness in feasting, as he one said in an interview:

“I do. Yeah. I say grace. I’m a big believer in grace. I happen to believe in a God that made all the food and so I’m pretty grateful for that and I thank him for that. But I’m also thankful for the people that put the food on the table. The people that grew the food, the people that got the food to me. I think that being grateful, being thankful, makes food tastes better, actually, and it’s something that we should take time to do. I do.”

May we all approach this season of bountiful feasting with a similar attitude of Grace.

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