“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.”
– Oscar Wilde
Food has a way of bringing people together in community like nothing else. Jesus knew this, and he used food in his ministry in many ways – as examples, as analogies, as parables as quality time spent with loved ones and as a means of extending grace.
In his book A Meal with Jesus, Tim Chester says “Jesus’ ‘excess’ with food and his ‘excess’ with grace are linked. In the ministry of Jesus, meals were enacted grace, community and mission. [The meals] represent something bigger . . . a new world, a new kingdom, a new outlook. But they give that new reality substance.” He adds, “Jesus’ meals are not just symbols, they’re also application. . . . Food is stuff. It’s not ideas or theories. You put it in your mouth, taste it and eat it. And meals are more than food. They’re social occasions. They represent friendship, community and welcome.” Chester states that meals embody God’s grace and so give form to community and mission.
Sharing recipes, traditions and passions
The recipe below was given to me several years ago by my friend, Irene Geleynse, after she brought it to a potluck dinner we were hosting in our home. It quickly became a favourite of ours because of the perfect combination of crunchy, salty, sweet and creamy flavours. It is decadent and yet fresh and healthy at the same time. It occupies a page in my weathered, spattered homemade cookbook, written out in Irene’s beautiful handwriting, and each time I turn to that page I smile at the memory of her writing it down for me on the spot, from memory. Whenever I make it for others I am asked for the recipe as well, and I happily pass it on.
Sharing meals has always been one of my favourite things to do. Whether through hosting dinners, attending potlucks, bringing a meal to someone, family dinners, picnics or dining with friends in a restaurant, this ancient ritual continues to rank as one of my highest sources of comfort, satisfaction and pleasure. So it was with great delight that I discovered that Jesus shared this same passion! And that through the participation of this tradition of breaking bread together with others I am taking part in something much bigger and part of God’s design for his people. . . it’s a little like the first course of a grand banquet feast.
For this salad, choose broccoli with bright green heads and tight, firm clusters. The top parts of the green stems can also be roughly chopped and added to the salad.
- 5 cups chopped broccoli
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ cup toasted sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
- ½ cup cooked bacon, crumbled
- 1 cup mayonnaise (or whipped salad dressing)
- 2 Tbsp vinegar
- ½ cup sugar
Mix dressing ingredients together and pour over broccoli mixture and stir through. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight before serving. Yield: 6 1-cup servings.
Fun facts about broccoli:
Broccoli belongs to a group of food known as “cruciferous vegetables,” originally named for the four equal-sized petals in its flowers that could be viewed as forming a cross-like or crucifix shape. Other vegetables in this family include cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and bok choy. Known as superfoods, research has shown that these nutritious vegetables have numerous health benefits, including reducing the risk of cancer and even reversing the effects of cancer in some cases. Cruciferous plants also help with preventing heart disease and have anti-inflammatory properties.
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