Prompts for the promptless… Meraki

French Onion SoupEvery now and then, in my stumblings around WordPress I find something… unique or really thought provoking. The Prompts for the Promptless series was one of those finds. I’m usually just not into artificial prompts. I’m an intermittent participant in WP’s own weekly photo and writing challenges and I’m woefully behind on the 365 project. I just don’t have that sort of mindset, I guess.

But… I was intrigued… The topic was meraki (may-rah-kee), a Greek term for  something you do with passion, soul, creativity and/or love. Huh. I can get myself around this concept. But how in the world had I never heard that term in 14 years of religious institutionalization? Especially in a congregation that enjoyed sermons on the different kinds of love, and sought out “agape”… anyway, I digress… The concept was to write about meraki in your life (condensed version, see the original).

Without a moment’s hesitation, my thoughts turned to the kitchen. For me, cooking isn’t just about putting food on the table. To me, equating food to nothing more than fuel is sort of like pulling into a self-serve gas station instead of a full-service one. Don’t remember those? Yeah, now I feel old.

Putting fuel into the machine does nothing else for the rest of the machine – be it car or body. It’s just fuel. That full-service station, well… they might wipe your windshield, check and top off your fluids, check and adjust your tire pressure. In short, they gave your whole car a quick once over and did a few, admittedly small, but not insignificant things to improve your driving experience and the life of your car.

Simply putting food into your body certainly meets your caloric needs, but does nothing for anything else. Food enjoyed with friends nourishes the whole person, not just the body.

It’s a rare evening when we don’t have at least one friend at our table. And I truly enjoy the process of meals – I love thinking about the food, planning the menu, addressing any special dietary needs, calculating how much of what we need to serve how many. My math teachers would be shocked at the equations I do in my head (I was a terrible student)…

I love preparing the food, getting it cooked and seasoned “just right” and serving it so it looks as attractive as possible. I believe the experience of dining should excite all of our senses, and I work to make sure the food plays its part.

When I read the prompt, this is why cooking came to mind so quickly. Food, after all, nourishes far more than our bodies. Good food, enjoyed with good friends, nourishes body and mind, heart and soul.