It’s hard to know what day it is currently. Many of the routines that differentiated our Mondays from our Tuesdays, and the patterns that distinguished our Wednesdays and our Thursdays, have dissolved. As for weekends, well that’s a whole other story.
Perhaps that’s why the regularity and reliability of mealtimes have become such a source of reassurance. They are high points in each new day granted; moments of pause and recuperation to look forward to, to work towards, and to relish.
Preparation for meals is not as straightforward as it used to be, though. I’m not sure I was ever much of a supermarket fan, but in comparison to my usual, more or less unremarkable expeditions to purchase food, recent excursions (and I’ve tried to keep these to an absolute minimum) have been altogether altered. Food shopping and anxiety seem to have collided; who ever thought that the supermarket run in Co. Antrim could immerse us all quite so fully in a dystopian drama?
Looking at things more positively, perhaps one of the silver-lining blessings of this lock-down experience is a more engaged focus on local food production, on finding and supporting local suppliers, and even on growing our own. This past week has included hopeful and helpful conversations with friends about sourcing good quality, healthy, locally produced food and, in the circumstances, delivery to the door.
In our home, a more thoughtful focus on and a renewed appreciation of food more generally, have been notable. Family mealtimes punctuate our days in a more meaningful way than perhaps ever before. Planning is slower, even a little painstaking, but cooking is more pleasurable. We’ve been working as a team. We’re being more intentional about how we use ingredients, and we’ve been trying to avoid unnecessary waste.
We’ve also been reminiscing about meals we have enjoyed in the past – cosy dinners with friends; family celebrations; memorable occasions while travelling or on holiday in different parts of the world. We look forward with anticipation to future feasts.
As parents, we’ve been blessed by the creativity and kindness that our children, young adults now, have been showing as they each contribute in the kitchen. Demonstrating and developing their culinary skills over the last fortnight or so, they have treated us to a range of savoury delights: Thai curry; Moroccan tagine; French onion tart. And on the sweeter side, banana bread; spiced apple cake; homemade caramel. Thanks guys.
And on the subject of thanks, we’re reminded in these days that not one detail of all of this can be taken for granted. For we depend on the goodness of God. As the Apostle James put it: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning”.