When I was a kid, my family said a quick grace before every.single.meal – oatmeal breakfasts before kindergarten included. These became (regrettably) perfunctory and rushed over the years but we kept up the tradition.
As an adult the habit fairly quickly faded away. In fact, I’m starting to feel uncomfortable with the extent to which I don’t take even a nano-second to take note of the fact that I am engaging in a primal, life-sustaining activity which often required the death of another being. Meals for me have more often than not become woeful in their slap-dash, toss on a plate and eat obliviously while I surf the ‘net or watch TV manner. Or my inhale as I’m walking around getting ready for work in the morning manner. Meal eating has become a purely functional affair.
I don’t think this is good. I don’t think this is good at all. In fact, I think it’s grim. It is anti-contentment.
And assuming (?) I’m in good company with my culture in this, it’s no wonder we are so obsessed with weight loss, and even obsessed with calories, yet out of touch with our own eating habits. In government-speak, perhaps we need a framework for how to approach our meals!
I’m not quite ready to go slow-food. But over lent, and hopefully beyond, I am going to start a new praxis of contentment: I am going to pause for at least 3 seconds before every single meal. Will I always Give Thanks per se? Perhaps, and I probably should. But at a minimum I will take a couple deep breaths, and attend to the fact that I am about to participate in a profound act of being human and participating in the food chain.
Readers – what about you? Did you say grace when you were growing up? Do you now? Do you engage in any quasi-ceremonial act before eating or like me, do you just dive in?
ps: after writing this, I found this gorgeous post How to Eat Like An Italian via twitter. #5 – perfect tip for me!
Photo Credit: Wiedmaier