Cooking And Diversity

One of the things I love about autumn (which starts today) is that it opens a new cooking season.  While I love cooking on the grill, I also love many autumn menus.  Autumn is the season when lasagna, pot roast other items right from the oven are among the items on my to-do and to-eat list. 

As autumn enters in I plan my brisket for Rosh Hashanah, sauerbraten for Oktoberfest, roast beef with Yorkshire pudding for Guy Fawkes’ Day and goose for St. Martin’s Day.  I may have mentioned in the past—as I will mention multiple times in the future—that I will take any excuse to feast, but I never fast. 

Food is perhaps the most wonderful entree into another culture.  It does not teach us everything, but it does provide us with a rich experience of at least a part of another person’s culture. 

But food also teaches us about how diversity can be a melting pot of creativity.  Consider the humble plate of spaghetti.  If legend is true, Marco Polo brought noodles back with him from his visit to China.  History then tells us that sometime after 1492 (probably decades later) tomatoes from the “New” World were cooked into a sauce and poured on top of a bowl of noodles; and one of the world’s great dishes was created. 

Alas, it is clear that Marco Polo did not bring noodles back from China; Italy had them long before his journey.  But some legends are just too much fun (and too important) to surrender to facts. 

But even if we limit this to Italian noodles and “new world” tomatoes, there is still that wonderful mixing of the foods of two cultures that creates something new and wonderful.  That is just one reason we should relish diversity rather than fear or reject it. 

Within out congregation, as within Unitarian Universalism as a whole, there is a broad theological diversity.  There is also broad “worship” diversity.  One example: in our Sunday services, some love the moments of silence, some love the music, some love the words.   Perhaps the goal for each of us is to love each and all of these.  They all add beauty and meaning. 

May we always appreciate the many ways in which we express our varied theologies and worship styles.  It truly makes us a unique place.