Archive | January, 2012

The Theology of Food

15 Jan

Food Notes

In The Theology of Food: Eating and the Eucharist (Wiley-Blackwell) Angel F. Mendez Montoya examines the links between religion and food, focusing on Christianity, from the forbidden fruit to the body of Christ on Sundays.

In Islam, the eating and fasting around Ramadan are a key part of one of the most important spiritual events of the Muslim calendar, while the dietary laws of Judaism are designed to create awareness of living in the time and space of the Torah.

Uncommonly investigated, Montoya researched for a full understanding for the relationship between food and spirituality, food and sin.

Food matters and the ritual of eating – dining mates, cultural traditions, the relationship with cuisine, the aesthetics of a table, and the route of the ingredients to the table – are important, complex and personal. The Theology of Food draws lines between the written word, anthropology, politics and philosophy, illuminating the role of food in belief systems and showing religions in a new light.

By Kim Scafuro

Eating transforms food so that it becomes a vital part of our bodies, and, simultaneously, the embodied individual is also transformed by the act of eating. The body can become strong and healthy, weak or ill, by eating or abstaining from food. This book addresses the fact that food matters, and matters related to food, such as eating and drinking, traditions, and the relationship between savoring and knowing; the author proclaims food can be considered as a “locus theologicus.”

Using the term “cookingage” the author delves into a person’s life, from the first self-prepared meal to the nourishment of the soul; the relationship of food and love, manifested in the act of breaking bread is becoming less and less common. True communal table fellowship, so where is it going? With families spreading out throughout the World and traditions become loose, so do our eating values.

Great cooks are great examples of love and hospitality. The joy of cooking for others is commonly learned from watching older relatives, which is where a lot of our religious beliefs stem from as well.

Cuisine is not only a cognitive practice that offers information about the subjective experience of cooking and eating, but it also connects to objects and people in the world and draws attention to the construction of both social and communal meaning.

The eroticism and gastrosophy (the love of food and gastronomy) are the most fundamental pleasures of human life. From one flavor to another. From a Catholic perspective, the Eucharist harmonizes complex elements in a sense, even just taste. The relational experience with the Son of the Father and uniting through the Holy Spirit. This sense of taste, leads to a participation with God.

Partaking in the sharing of food, whether in a religious situation or not, can be deconstructed and analyzed in a variety of contexts.

The author describes a scenario where he shares mole amongst friends in Mexico City. Throughout the process of writing to publishing, cooking to eating, the final product nourishes imaginations, inspires and helps articulate theories. Having a taste, or a food for thought, can only start to lead to conclusions. He concludes that theology is indeed an “art that no one learns in the actual making of it.” Cooking and researching are blended with other actions that equally influenced theological arguments. Praying, interrelated subjects of food and theology, and engaging in dialogue with different people from different backgrounds on the subjects of food and religion can only start to wet the appetite.