Anytime I catch a whiff of peppermint I am instantly six years old, sitting next to my Poppa on a hard church pew wearing frilly white socks, trying to figure out why a church hour always seems to last longer than a regular hour. He always kept a stash of the little round candies in his coat pocket.
Whenever my lips start to tingle and my nose gets a little singed from a numbing pepper, I am hunched on a plastic kiddie stool around a make-shift table on a sidewalk in China, trying with absolute concentration to get slippery noodles from my bowl to my mouth before my hand cramps from the death grip I have on my chopsticks.
It isn’t Christmas without a cranberry-apple pie. The juice that drips down your hand from a fresh peach at the peak of summer tastes the sweetest. And the recipe for chicken and dumplings has only ever been written down on the hearts of the women in my family.
The wonderful thing about the food and flavors God creates is how full of diversity it is. Sure, food is essential for sustaining life, but it’s more than that. What—and how—we eat are foundational elements of culture, history, and society. Certain flavors have the ability to transport us home. Special treats mark celebrations and generational dishes preserve shared cultures and histories. God creates a creative complexity of tastes. And God saw that it was good (v. 12).
What kinds of tastes and flavors mark significant milestones in my life?
God, who provided us with the spice of life, the taste of memory, and the diverse flavor of culture and celebration, thank you. Amen.