The best parts of many of the greatest children's books are the detailed lists of food. The books about Francis the Badger have them, the Redwall books have them, the Little House books have them in spades. Since he decided to eat a certain fruit in a certain garden, man has been obsessed with food, its cultivation and preparation, its taste.
As Dostoevsky showed in The Brothers Karamazov, the one in charge of a country's food distribution is largely in charge of the country. Other than air, food is the most essential element for survival, and people will do just about anything (including but not limited to killing other people, sacrificing their freedom, and selling their children) to make sure they get it.
That's the dark side of food. The bright side is that God has equipped us to enjoy food, and then made sure there's an endless array of flavors, textures, and combinations for us to enjoy. Sometimes one's tastes are determined by what they have to eat; in other instances we eat what we have to and remember a really good dish or meal we had some other time.
You can tell a lot about a culture by what they eat. The diversity of the region (or lack thereof) will largely determine the national diet, though wealthier nations can have what they want whether or not they can grow it themselves. Food is a major factor in regional lifespans and health; where the diet is more well-rounded, people tend to be healthier and live longer, and often to be happier.
What we can never forget, no matter where we live and no matter what we eat, is that all the food there is was given to us by God. Christians aren't called to starve themselves just because there are hungry people elsewhere in the world, but the Bible does instruct us to look after the poor. Our task as citizens of one of the largest food-producing nations, and as Christians, is to enjoy what we've been given while generously sharing it with others.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.
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