Religious Food for Thought

This column was published on UPI’s Religion and spirituality Forum on July 23, 2007.

If book sales can be trusted as an indicator of the American mood, then Americans are starting to care deeply about food. In 2006, Michael Pollan’s definitive tome on good eating, The Omnivore’s Dilemma was a runaway best seller; since its recent publication, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver’s gastronomic musings of a year’s worth of local eating, has spent eleven weeks (and counting) on the New York Times’ best seller list.

The economic impact of the newfound American obsession with food goes beyond our reading habits. The UDSA reports that the number of farmer’s markets has grown by more than 100 percent over the last ten years. Whole Foods, an international supermarket chain specializing in what Michael Pollan calls “industrial organic” food is a booming success, and the Disney/Pixar film “Ratatouille” cooked up for its creators nearly 50 million dollars in profit over the course of its debut weekend.

What is missing in America’s foodie mood is a strong articulation of why eating well should matter to people of faith. Continue reading

Chestnut Polenta: Better Than Fruitcake

This piece was published on UPI’s Religion and Spirituality page on November 20, 2006.

I’m the kind of religious grump who spends way too much time during the year’s waning days grinding my teeth every time I encounter the secularization of the holiday season. I am offended because Santa’s toy-laden sleigh has replaced Mary’s womb as the bearer of the gift of Christmas. I’m even prone to rant over the secularization of Thanksgiving, which already is secular, but in my defense, when we sit down to a meal of turkey and all the trimmings, we should be giving thanks for more than football.

But I want this year to be different.

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