Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tasty Tuesday ... Best Part of the Meal

I really do love to cook. Food says so much about who we are, and it's such a wonderful gathering point. For me, cooking is like a love language; it's that way for many women around the world. 

Instead of a recipe today, I want to show you some peeks of the "love language of food" that overcame the barriers of spoken language during my time in Asia last week.

Our team had the privilege of spending a day in a hill tribe village. A relatively new building had been built, and we had the joy of helping the village paint the focal point of life there.  It was a joy, but it was HOT.  :)  The meal we shared with friends in the village really had "3 courses:"

The stuff in the bowl needs to be served with a fire extinguisher. ;)
Course #1 ~ An elderly lady proudly dressed in traditional tribal garb (in our honor) brought us "appetizers" while we worked.  This diligent lady served us attentively and persistently. She was devoted to us, an ambassador of hospitality.

Our attentive friend
Only once did I find it hard to appreciate her ... when she offered me a green mango, which I dipped into the seasoning she offered, and it promptly set my mouth, throat and stomach on fire. SPICY doesn't even begin to describe it. :)

I've lightened this pic for you to see "in the dark" of the hut.
Course #2 ~ After appetizers while we worked, we noticed smoke coming from a large hut across from the church. Curiosity drew me in, and the team gals followed, as we peered into the darkness and found our sweet partner (front left in the pic) with a group of village women. They were preparing a feast of the best they had to offer, as hospitable hearts do. They prepared a spread of pork, noodles, rice, fruit, peanuts, and squash. They also prepared a dish of a green leaf called "tabu" with garlic, which they said is good for women to lose weight. ;) We all tried that!  And don't you know that, despite different languages, women love to gather in the "kitchen" and bond together over the preparation of food? It's universal.

Course #3 ~ When it was time to break from our work and have lunch, our partner and the village ladies spread beautiful mats over the bamboo floor built outside, in the center of the village. She spread the feast for us and welcomed us to "the table." 

The best part of the meal? The love and hospitality served with each "course," offering us the best our hosts had to offer. It was a beautiful example that, while working on my recipe collection and cooking savvy is good, offering my best on a dish of hospitality served with the utensil of love is the best part of the meal.

Getting food on the table doesn't make you hospitable, but doing it with a servant's heart and a sacrificial spirit takes "dishes full of food" to the level of hospitality. It's the best part of the meal.

Have you ever been served a meal that really "spoke love" to you?

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