I really, really like food. I mean, who doesn’t?
Food is so much more than sustaining, surviving.
It is also more than temporary pleasure.
The best food tells a story.
I mean, that’s what it’s all about right?
Food and drink, together-ness.
I love how Jesus fed people with physical food to represent the spiritual nutrition they were receiving.
Bread and wine and receiving life in Him.
Fish for breakfast and speaking how all things were now new.
Food and story go hand-in-hand.
The other day I made some Chinese dumplings for lunch.
I dipped them in soy sauce mixed with ginger.
They invoked a memory, a story.
A tiny upper room in one of my last days in Urumqui, Western China.
Following a new friend through mad, winter-y, chaotic streets as night was approaching.
“This is my family,”
A kind, shy woman.
Small boys with big almond eyes, brown hair, tan skin, giggling.
“You are the first people from US they have seen.”
The kind woman gently placed three bowls on the floor where we sat cross-legged on a beautiful blanket. A tapestry hung on the bare wall, color and design.
I had eaten so many type of dumplings the past couple months,
Pork, chicken, fish, shrimp, vegetable, some undefinable meat. A thousand types.
Dumplings are good luck for the New Year. I spent Chinese New Year in an apartment with another girl on the other side of the country laughing as another kind mother attempted to teach this western girl how to make dumplings, and I failed. Completely.
“We cannot eat yours, it is bad luck if they fall apart!”
That night, I sat alone of the rooftop of our hotel and watched the sky light up with fireworks, more bright and colorful and numerous then I have ever seen before or since then.
I smiled at the two giggling boys and the shy mother and took a bite. The pungent, strong flavor of lamb I was so accustomed to after spending time in the west, mixed with the delicate home-y taste of sweet potato.
“Tell your mother, I have eaten a lot of dumplings while in China, and these are the best ones so far!”
Our friend translated and the mother blushed and smiled. I felt so much love for these people, this minority group of Turkic descent bared no resemblance to the “typical” Chinese in appearance, religion, or culture.
Our friend proudly showed us her family’s copy of the Koran, one of the few possessions in the small room.
“This is to us what your bible is to you.” She said proudly.
After dinner and good byes, she led us back through the dark, cold streets to our hotel.
There, we talked. Our friend picked up the bible written in Chinese and English I had been carrying across the country with me, wondering who I should give it to.
She began to read,
“In the beginning, God created the heaven’s and earth…”
For the first time, she read our story.
What food tells a story for you?