I learned quite a bit while in China. For example, the Chinese don’t have a custom of wearing wedding rings to signal they are married. Therefore, if someone wants to know your marital status, they ask, “Have you solved your problem?”
Our guide also told us that while some time ago their citizens used to greet each other with basically, “How are you?” like we do in the U.S., that custom changed as difficult times were encountered. They now ask, “Have you eaten?” And, the answer, in order to protect the friend who is asking so they won’t worry, is always “yes.”
Even if you haven’t eaten for days.
My answer to that question, however, would never have to be framed to protect a friend from worrying. I have always eaten, every day. I write about my garden and sometimes about what I cook. I love that we can plant food, tend to its care while it grows, harvest our investment and eat it together. But I also count on subsidizing what I grow by purchasing what other Oklahomans have raised or grown. And, what other people across the U.S. or even the world have grown or prepared.
Within twenty minutes from my house we have five large grocery stores and countless mini-marts all stocked with items to provide whatever I need. I order monthly from the Oklahoma Food Cooperative, and go at least monthly to my local farmer’s market. And, although I still follow a food budget, I HAVE money FOR a food budget. Some of the poorest villagers in southwestern China make about $150 per year, with many making $300 per year. With that level of resources, I would imagine the choices are fairly limited when it comes to food purchases, and frequently the answer would be “yes” when asked if they’ve eaten…but would in reality be a resounding “no.”
Today I went to the market and purchased small white and purple eggplants, okra, apples, peanut butter and several other items. I then came home and made a spinach stuff pork roast, roasted some of my veggies and served them with an olive oil and herbed dip, and had fresh shelled peas with onion and bacon. Rylee took a plate of food, still warm from the oven, and ate it before leaving for work. She said, “Mmm, mom, this is like Thanksgiving.”
Yes, Rylee. It IS like Thanksgiving.
Thank you, God, for our food.
Ephesians 5:20 ~ Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ