May All Be Fed

I was putting together our weekly dinner menu this morning. I usually make a few standards, then I look through cookbooks and favorite cooking sites. I was looking for our Lotsa Pasta recipe [a pasta salad with a creamy Italian dressing] in a book by John Robbins called May All Be Fed: Diet for a New World.  The book is full of terrific quotes and prayers, including one containing the books namesake.

May all be fed. May all be healed. May all be loved. 

If I was into vinyl lettering, I would plaster, er, peel and stick that baby up on my kitchen wall. When I was browsing through the pages, I found a Unitarian prayer that I read a few times over, wrote down on my grocery list, and let linger in my mind all day.

The food which we are about to eat
Is Earth, Water, and Sun,
Compounded through the alchemy of many plants.
Therefore Earth, Water, and Sun will become part of us.
This food is also the fruit of the labor of many beings and creatures.
We are grateful for it.
May it give us strength, health, joy.
And may it increase our love.

It made me think about Marilyn and Carl, the AMAZING couple who graciously opened their home to us in Hawaii during a music festival we attended in the summer of 2006. Food was so artful to them. All of their meals prepared at home were simple and beautiful. Marilyn talked about how people used to give thanks for every part of the animal they used and consumed. They knew their lives depended on animal's sacrifice of life. Now everything is so easy, we don't have to think about the life that's lost. It made me more grateful. I would always say a prayer in my heart over the the actual animal whose life was taken away to add to my own.

[Marilyn preparing our breakfast - Do you see their fruit bowl in the background?]

Every morning she would cut up fresh fruit for our breakfast and arrange it thoughtfully on our plates. One evening we arrived home to a simple salad that became a meal, another late night, she was making risotto for Carl, but shared with us. The process was fascinating, making rice creamy. The end result was delicious. She made Brie in Pastry in honor of me, complete with Granny Smith apples. The flavors were wonderful together. I was 21 and had never had Brie cheese before. They took Jake and me out for sushi for our first time. Their relationship with food was transformative for us. I will be forever grateful for our two and a half week stay with them. I love them. I miss them. I want our girls to meet them some day. I mean, Marilyn is the one who taught me how to cut up a pineapple.

[Breakfast plates]

Our journey into veganism has taken years. I love the awareness and the gratitude it has brought to me. I know that if we were all more aware of our food and the energy that goes into producing it, we could collectively find a way for all to be fed.

Here's what we had for dinner tonight:


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