Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Awaken Your Senses: Taste

The Awaken Your Senses Contest on Facebook began yesterday—with Taste!

Brent's intro—TASTE: The sense of the week!
awaken"Have you ever thought about tasting God in what you put in your mouth? The idea that food can remind us of the different attributes, ways and stories of God is a novel thought for most of us. If we are open to letting God teach us the ways of faith through our bodies, though, then we can learn the ways of faith through our taste buds as well as our brain. The sweetness of a freshly baked cinnamon roll can remind us of the sweetness of God's love in the same way that horseradish at Passover reminds Jews of the bitterness of slavery." Awaken Your Senses, pg. 26 (adapted)
I love this idea! Our central Christian hermeneutic is God's incarnation, enfleshment, in a physical body formed from the substance of the ground. My particular Reformation tradition emphasizes the ongoing Divine presence and God's continued self-giving in the sacraments. But baptism and holy communion are far more than something we do in a ritualized way when we gather—they are lively signs to the world of our seeking and working for justice for all peoples and all the earth everywhere. Sacraments also signify the sacredness of all life as they form a microcosm of the promised time of the fullness of redemption for all creation. Real food is not manufactured in laboratory-like factories; real food comes from the earth and for celebrating sacramental ordinances we use flowing water, juice or wine from the fruit of the grapevine and (ideally recently homemade) bread baked from natural ingredients, so we need to be friends of the earth to continue celebrating sacraments. That's my own intro to this series, and here's a reflection on recent tastes.

earth heartAlthough I live in a central city location of a major metropolitan area, I don't often get to any of the nearby farmer's markets, so I've been buying a lot of ripe red tomatoes on the vine from the grocery store. The first thing I savor is the fragrant scent of the soil that still clings to parts of vine and fruit. Or maybe the first thing I notice is the shiny, intense orangey-red color of the tomato fruit that forms a wonderful contrast to the vine's deep green—in color theory red and green are complementary colors, which used adjacent to each other tend to buzz a little in the observer's eyes! Their solid heft and pleasant "just right" weight in my hand is the second or maybe third or was that the very first aspect of these tomatoes I noticed when I picked them up in the store?

But how do these tomatoes taste and feel in my mouth? First the satin-smooth outside skin, next fluid juicy insides along with a few small seeds to add texture. The small meaty chunks barely need chewing, but as I do, hints of sweet and sour and a slightly bitter undertone add up to a lovely tang. I want the fresh tomato experience to last almost forever, but I know there are a few more waiting for tomorrow and the next day, more in the store and more growing out of the ground for when I'm ready.

But there is more! The aroma, the feel, the appearance and the flavors of my daily tomatoes awaken memories of visiting my grandmother and picking a ripe, warm, sun-kissed tomato from her garden and bringing it into the house to slice: for lunch in a tomato or tuna sandwich on recently out of the oven bread; for dinner or supper as part of a classic salad with any variety of garden lettuce, cucumbers, onions and homemade vinaigrette. During this Heart Month of February, I'm loving tomatoes and loving the earth.

my Awaken Your Senses blog and Amazon review

I won a gift certificate for this tomato blog post! Thanks, Brent!

2 comments:

Brent Bill said...

Wonderful post, Leah. So evocative. Now I'm ready for a summery, vine-ripened tomato. Now if it were just not the dead of winter here in Indiana!

Beth said...

I am now hungry for tomatoes! Thanks, Leah, for paying attention, noticing with all your senses something so beautiful and wonderful as a tomato.