The Advent of Food

Herd About It?

by Ana Grarian

Advent, for Christians is a time of anticipation and waiting. The four Sundays before Christmas serve as a time for us to prepare ourselves and to focus on the promise of the coming savior. It is a time to reflect on the promises God has given us, the love God has shown us in preparing a way for us and providing for our needs. We experience the joy of the coming fulfillment of God’s word through the birth of Christ and in our anticipation of a second coming when the promise of God’s peace will be fulfilled.
For all who observe Christmas it is a time of preparation and anticipation. We prepare our homes, our gifts, our meals and rituals. We wait expectantly for sharing presents around the tree and sharing community activities. Christmas like Thanksgiving is a time when treasured family rituals are re-enacted. We come together with friends and neighbors to reminisce and hope for a better future.
For the Pagans winter solstice is a time when the dark days of winter wane and they look forward to the sun’s return and the promise of another spring. It is also a time of celebrating in community

What brought me to be in such a sermonizing mood?

A few days ago my daughter and I had a much anticipated dinner at a chain restaurant. We had been looking forward to this day as it entailed traveling to another city. We complained a bit about not having one in our town, but then we thought about how special this was. How we had looked forward to it and planned for it. If the restaurant was just down the road we would go there often and it would become humdrum.

Like Christmas and our chain restaurant dinner, food used to be something we anticipated. Before we shipped immature produce around the world in refrigerated trucks, ripening it in some gas chamber, we looked forward to it. Strawberries in June. Apples in fall. Those first red, ripe, luscious tomatoes in July. Fresh picked corn on the cob, watermelons, etc. In our family we have a tradition of an orange in our stocking. In my mother’s day, during the depression and then war time, an orange in late December was quite a treat.

Not so long ago dinner was an anticipated event. Mom (usually) had been planning what she would make, looking at what was in the pantry or garden or root cellar. That was before we relied on value added products that could be nuked after adding water. The house would be filled with wonderful smells and kids and Dad would burst into the kitchen asking what’s for dinner? and getting shooshed away when they tried to steal a taste. We usually still make some of these recipes at holiday time. Mom’s apple pie, traditional stuffing, Gran’s Christmas cookies.

Many of us remember a time or two when we sneaked a peak at what we were getting for Christmas, and learned that the day was less exciting when we did. The anticipation and wonder was part of the deal. I think food should be like that again. Real food, in season, prepared by our own hands, for ourselves and those we love. Planning and anticipating a meal together.

PS The meal at the chain restaurant made us almost immediately ill. Not in a food poisoning way, but in a scary bloated, wanting to upchuck for relief way. I’ve since found out that the seafood in a place like that is packaged in a chemical brine to preserve freshness. I think perhaps my system is sensitive to it. I never had that problem with Mom’s home cooked meals (or my own).