Monday, March 14, 2011

Serving Up the Very Best

Grubs and Scorpions . . . Yum!!!
I've had some great culinary adventures since arriving in China. Just the other day I was treated to scorpinions, locusts, grubs, miniture squids, and fish heads. I have to say that scorpions are now my favorite food in the world, and I can't wait till my second round of the crispy little morsels. My first day here I had chicken feet and solidified goats blood . . . the last one is a big YUCK!!!

Here's Looking at You Kid
Don't misunderstand me. I've had plenty of your everyday foods in the school canteen including a mountain of rice and THE BEST NOODLES EVER COOKED ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET!!! One of the best ways to get to know a culture is through its food. There is a ceremony and tradition to the meals here missing from many American homes. I can't count the number of toasts I've raised my glass for or the number of introductions my hosts have ceremoniously made for me to the other guests. I want to sit straighter at these meals and listen as they talk about their days and their lives. I feel like I am watching a performance.

I think a country's food tells a lot about the country. Some of my friends have gagged at the thought of eating some of the things I have, but there is a saying that the Chinese eat every part of the pig except the oink. It means that every edible part of a plant or animal is consumed. With billions of mouths to feed, the Chinese waste nothing. Some of the animal parts that I would have just discarded at home turned out to be some of my favorite dishes. Although I'll still leave the blood to those used to eating it!

Courtyard Life
My professor put it best when he said, "The villages are the true China. They are the life blood that nourishes and feeds the population. The land is a precious resource and what it produces is what makes us strong." Growing up in the rural part of America, I can relate to his sentiments. The cities and industrials hubs of America  are bustling and teaming with life, but they are supported by the quiet farmers and their hardworking families. I think we could all take some time to appreciate the fact that we are not entitled to things like food. It is a gift from a gracious God, harvested by calloused hands, and bought by those who can afford it.

Just before coming to China. I worked in a soup kitchen run by Christian Services of Hattiesburg, MS. I was reminded everyday of people who are not gaurenteed a meal at night and who are so hungry they don't care if they really like the food or not. It was about nourishment more than enjoyment. I love how the Chinese make food about both nourishment and enjoyment. They take even the lowliest parts of an animal such as the feet and cook them in ways that can make even the pickiest Western beg for more.

This idea of cherising and celebrating the gifts of plants and animals is one I'd like to keep with me when I return home. I'd love to plant a small garden and try new receipes with ingrediants I haven't used. How can you help conserve and celebrate God's gifts to us? Take time to remember that your food didn't magically appear on the table and give thanks.

Much Love Ya'll,


  1. I like the way you are taking things in... So positive and with an open mind! I pray God blesses you through your time in China and gives you an even more open heart to listening and sharing Christ with others.

  2. Some of that stuff sounds pretty interesting...I'm glad you're having a great time and that God's really blessing your trip. I'm still waiting for my internet so I can actually TALK to you!