Robert Farrar Capon says, “The world may or may not need another cookbook, but it needs all the lovers—amateurs—it can get.”
This Lent I have been reading (or I was supposed to read) texts that will make me slow down and pay attention to the world. I decided to focus a good portion of my time on paying attention to food. I have been reading through Robert Farrar Capon’s book The Supper of the Lamb. The book is a celebration of God and creation disguised as a cookbook of one long recipe (Lamb for Eight Persons Four Times Over). The books has made me think a lot about the unnecessity of creation. God desires that we enjoy creation simply because it exists. I want to share a few lines from the book.
Listen to his instructions on peeling an orange (keep in mind that this author spends 10 pages reflecting on how to cut an onion):
“Peel an orange. Do it lovingly—in perfect quarters like little boats, or in staggered exfoliations like a flat map of the round world, or in one long spiral, as my grandfather used to do. Nothing is more likely to become garbage than orange rind; but for as long as anyone looks at in delight, it stands a million triumphant miles from the trash heap.
That, you know, is why the world exists at all. It remains outside the cosmic garbage can of nothingness, not because it is such a solemn necessity that nobody can get rid of it, but because it is the orange peel hung on God’s chandelier, the wishbone in his kitchen closet.”
For Capon, the kitchen table is the place where we meet God and take in the joy of living. It’s the place to enjoy the unnecessity of creation. The table is the place to experience God’s creation with all of your senses. Take for instance wine:
“In a general way we concede that God made the world out of joy: He didn’t need it; He just thought it was a good thing. But if you confine His activity to creation to the beginning only, you lose most of the joy in the subsequent shuffle of history…How much better a world it becomes when you see Him creating at all times and at every time. Each thing, at every moment, becomes the delight of His hand, the apple of His eye. The bloom of yeast lies upon the grapeskins year after year because He likes it; C6H1206=2C2H5OH+2CO2 is a dependable process because, every September, He says, ‘That was nice; do it again.’
Let us pause and drink to that.”
Here is to slowing down, paying attention, and taking in the unnecessity of creation.